Celebrity Predictions for the Apple Cup

COUGFAN.COM'S annual celebrity Apple Cup Pick'em is going in a bit different direction this year. We're stretching the meaning of the word "celebrity" by including a few members of the media that this site hasn't heard from in a while. Or ever. Toss-in some Cougs and a former Husky player who coached Shawn McWashington in high school, and ...

... we might have the most eclectic group of Apple Cup selectors in CF.C history.

One thing everyone agrees on is that defense will not rule the day. They're all expecting the scoreboard to light up.

On to the picks!

TIM STALLWORTH, WSU wide receiver 1985-89
The key for a Cougar victory is to stop Sankey, that running back from Spokane. Halliday could take a page out of Alex Brink's book. Wasn't he 3-1 against the Dawgs? Our offense and defense is peaking at the right time. 38-28 Cougar victory!!!

MARK STEWART, Garfield High head coach, and UW outside linebacker 1979-82
I think the key is will the Huskies be able to get out there and control the game. If they can establish the run game It's probably going to be the big thing. If they do that and get some stops the Huskies are going to be alright ... The game-turning play will be a turnover returned for a touchdown. The turnover and touchdown will put the Huskies up by 14 and then they're going to pound it out (on the ground). Huskies 45-28.

DEREK SPARKS, WSU running back 1991-95
I think it's going to come down to how well the defenses play. We have a high-powered offense and they have a high-powered offense, and they mix it up pretty well. I think it's going to be a high-scoring game. I would say it's going to be Cougs 45, UW 38, and I think a turnover could be the momentum switch for us to go ahead and score to win the game.

COLLIN HENDERSON, WSU wide receiver 1999-03
Our o-line has to keep doing what it's been doing the past two weeks. If you give Connor time to throw, if you give Connor time to read the defense, I think he's really, really good. When you put pressure on the quarterback to where he can't make his reads it makes it very, very tough. Gabe (Marks) hasn't had a big game in a while. I think Gabe is going to catch a crossing slant route for about 60 yards for a big score in the fourth quarter. Cougs 41-38.

ART THIEL, Publisher/Columnist at Sportspress Northwest
Forced to start a redshirt freshman at QB in Corvallis, Sarkisian had to concede that the Huskies are much better when they run first, second and third, cute passing strategies be damned. Sankey and the O-line is against a Cougars defense that is sometimes vulnerable to the run, and should prevail. If WSU doesn't find a way to force Miles/Price to the air early, they will have to rely on another big comeback. Not at Husky Stadium. Huskies 41-34.

JACOB THORPE, The Spokesman-Review's WSU beat writer
UW/ WSU fans hoping to forget the name Bishop Sankey will have a rude reminder on Friday, as the former Cougar commit figures to feature prominently in the Huskies' offensive attack. The key matchup in the most meaningful Apple Cup in years will be the WSU run defense against Washington's feature back. The Cougars have given up over 180 yards per game on the ground so far this year, but were able to hold Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey -- the conference's best running back -- in check. If they can do the same to Sankey then WSU will have an excellent shot to win. The two teams will battle to a standstill until late in the fourth quarter when the Huskies run the same misdirection play that Utah used effectively in the first half of last Saturday's game against the Cougars. Sankey bursts up the sideline, going 35 yards to get the Huskies in field goal range. After taking two knees to run down the clock the Huskies line up for a 38-yard field goal. All seems lost for the Cougars but special teams coach Eric Russell makes the bold and brilliant move of putting Dominique Williams behind the line to block the kick, which he does, leaping high above the trenches to get just enough fingers on Travis Coons' kick to send it flying harmlessly to the side. But what's this? There's a yellow flag lying at the feet of a certain, infamous, glasses-wearing official. The official rules that Williams illegally propelled himself upwards to block the kick by climbing on the backs of one of the WSU linemen. The play is countlessly and inconclusively replayed on DVRs all across the state but it matters naught. Coons nails the second attempt. Huskies 31-28.

JIM WALDEN, WSU head coach 1977-1986
My feeling is if the Cougars play hard and the head coach coaches smart and as a team they have no more than one turnover they can win. 37 to 28. Go Cougs!

JIM MOORE, 710 ESPN Seattle radio host
The Huskies are home and appear to have a better team than the Cougs. But weren't they 14-point favorites last year too? A lot of talk this week about who will be at quarterback for Washington, Keith Price or Cyler Miles. And whether Bishop Sankey will break Corey Dillon's single-season rushing record. But I'm more interested in seeing what kind of hat Coach Sark will be wearing at the game. Did you get a load of that goofy cap he wore for the Oregon State game? He was a gun and Buggs Bunny short of being Elmer Fudd. As for the game, I'll hope that Connor Halliday throws for 500 yards and has no interceptions. I know, that's asking a lot, but what the heck, he's could do it - he threw for 488 yards with no INTs against Utah last week. I hope Price plays because I don't want any excuses from the Dawgs after they lose to us on an Andrew Furney field goal in overtime again. Cougs 51-48.

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