What they're saying: post-UW edition

THE APPLE CUP of recent years rarely seems to follow that which proceeded it. Even when the favorite wins, it doesn't happen in nearly the manner most envision. The favorite most certainly did not win Saturday, and the Cougars' upset loss to the Huskies produced quotable quotes and notes from one end of the state to the other, including some strong words from Bill Doba on his future.

So in a hallway at Bohler Gym, after a discussion of special-teams problems and defensive breakdowns and limitations due to WSU's long injury list, I asked him: How long does he want to do this? Does he plan to be back next year? Doba's voice rose with his answer. "I don't think I want to get my motor home and ride around the country by myself," he said with some vehemence. "OK? So this is my life, and that's [his program] my family. "I ain't gonna quit on those guys. I brought 'em here, and I said I was gonna stay around here and dammit, I'll stay. I don't want to hear about that anymore." - Bud Withers, Seattle Times

Cougars players had trouble believing that they lost to the same Huskies team that couldn't score a touchdown in a loss to Stanford last week. And the Washington State team that three weeks ago was ranked No. 25 and sitting at 6-3 overall, 4-2 in Pac-10, is now adjusting to the fact its bowl hopes are hanging by a thread. - Craig Smith, Seattle Times

Eventually, the Cougars ran out of big plays. The Huskies never did. - Dale Grummert, Lewiston Tribune

Spurred on by what they said were some particularly meaningful talks from the team's senior class Friday night, the Huskies used a bevy of big plays to beat the Washington State Cougars 35-32 before 35,117 at Martin Stadium in one of the wildest editions in the Apple Cup's 99-game history. "This is our storybook ending," said Washington linebacker Scott White - Bob Condotta, Seattle Times

There are 32 bowls games – 64 spots – to fill. The NCAA Division I programs with seven or more wins receive priority. As of Saturday night, 48 programs had seven or more victories. WSU, which can finish no higher than tied for fourth in the Pacific-10 Conference, is among 20 teams with six victories. Oregon is one of the teams that can tie for fourth, but because the Ducks have seven victories, WSU could not go to the Las Vegas Bowl. The only hope is WSU can finish in the top six in the Pac-10 standings, and that will be a big enough chore since eight teams in the conference have six victories. "(Our politicking) started last week," Cougars athletic director Jim Sterk said. "We have to see how everything plays out over the next couple weeks to see, ‘Is it realistic or not?' We have to position ourselves the best we can." - Todd Milles, Tacoma News Tribune

After their bowl hopes took a hit in the 35-32 loss to Washington, the Cougars might have gotten a break when UCLA beat Arizona State on Saturday night. If Arizona State (3-5 in Pac-10) loses to Arizona Saturday and UCLA (4-4) loses to USC Dec. 2, the Cougars would finish in a sixth-place tie with UCLA and have a 37-15 win over the Bruins in the reckoning for the No. 6-slotted Hawaii Bowl. Head-to-head play, however, is not necessarily a determining factor for the bowls, and UCLA could be chosen by the Hawaii Bowl, for instance, for the Los Angeles television market. - Craig Smith, Seattle Times

OK, maybe the upshot is that there shouldn't be bowl rewards for incredibly average teams, but with 32 games to fill that's exactly the case – which is how the Cougs can even hope to hope. Don't. Bless all you achieved in September and October, fellas, but it needs to be over. - John Blanchette, Spokesman Review

As this game grew in drama, as both teams revealed traces of greatness (well, maybe that should be very goodness), the mind kept shifting to what could've been. Ponder how much more oomph the game could've had if the Huskies and Cougars hadn't dozed during the year. - Jerry Brewer, Seattle Times

Three weeks ago, the Cougars had such high expectations. Sporting a 6-3 record and a national ranking, a postseason bowl game was so tantalizing close. All they had to do in the season's final weeks was reach out and grab it. It was something they expected to do against Arizona at home. They didn't. It was something they expected to do against Arizona State on the road. They didn't. It was something they finally expected to do in the Apple Cup, an Apple Cup against a Husky team coming in with a six-game losing streak, including a season-ruining 20-3 loss last Saturday to then-winless Stanford. It was all there. All they had to do was reach out and grab it. - Vince Grippi, Spokesman Review

The Huskies were dead, or so many believed. The call for Willingham's head was never as loud as it was this previous week. So what in blazes happened? Hey, it's Apple Cup. - John Sleeper, Everett Herald

Saturday's Apple Cup marked the sixth straight game decided by 12 points or less. The only longer streak was seven games between 1928 and 1934. - Bob Condotta, Seattle Times

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