This is a frustrating Apple Cup for this Coug.
On one hand, WSU has a legitimate shot to win, as it does most years. Once Apple Cup time rolls around, the Cougars, no matter their record, get fired up to seize a victory from the jaws of their most hated rival. And at least they haven't been the laughingstock of the nation this year.
On the other hand, this game could have meant something else for the Cougs — bowl eligibility. Too many couldas, shouldas and wouldas for WSU this year. A 10-point lead at San Diego State dissipated, and it ended up being 42-24, Aztecs. There were high expectations for the Cougars to win at UCLA, and instead it was the Bruins who prevailed. A three-point halftime deficit against Stanford turned into a 44-14 blowout. And of course, everyone thought WSU could take care of one-win Oregon State. We know how that ended.
I hope Wazzu can save face today at CenturyLink Field, but judging from the lack of Apple Cup-centric posts on my friends' Facebook pages this week, I think the Utah loss took a lot out of Cougar Nation. Those few remaining shreds of postseason hope were wiped out with one overtime field goal.
This has been a long roller coaster ride — eight years without a bowl, to be exact. That makes me feel slightly creaky, considering I was in college the last time the Cougs went bowling. Yes, the team has improved significantly over the past few seasons — the possibility of 5-7 is amazing when you think of where the Cougs were two years ago — but at times, it doesn't feel like enough.