Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Apple Cup week begins


It's Apple Cup week. The final week and game of the season. The last game for Washington State's seniors and the last football game for some other folks. Read on.


• Washington State: Of course, that "other folks" would be me. I'm leaving this beat on Dec. 31, so only basketball games from here on out. What, you expected me to write something else? We'll, you're right. Though the Cougars (4-7 overall, 2-6 in Pac-12 play) have played well the last two games, there is still quite a bit of uncertainty bubbling around out there about the future of Paul Wulff (though quite a bit less in Pullman, where I took the temperature of a booster meeting last week and it seemed cool to the idea of replacing him after this year). I wrote at the beginning of the season six wins would guarantee his return, four means he's gone and five, well that was the question mark. Only once did I say, on radio, "barring major injury." Probably should have said that more, because the quarterback injuries this season have been a hard-to-quantify blow. But, really, it doesn't matter what I think. It doesn't matter what you think. It only matters what Bill Moos thinks. I'm pretty sure if the Cougars win the Apple Cup, Moos will stick with Wulff, but I thought the same of Jim Sterk and Bill Doba four years ago, so what do I know. And I believe, because of conversations I have had with Moos and some things he has said to others, that even a strong showing this Saturday would be enough. Then, again, I may not be the world's best tea-leaf reader. But another performance at CenturyLink Field like the last one the Cougars had there and we may all be looking at our coaching lists and checking them twice. ...  We have a couple stories from the S-R to pass along, including our follow from Saturday's game with the Connor Halliday and Isiah Barton news. Everyone knows what Halliday brings to the table, but a big part of the reason the Cougar offense has improved this season is the play of Barton in the slot. The boisterous senior for Fresno CC has become a big part of the WSU attack, working down the middle and keeping safeties occupied. He'll be missed Saturday. Now this Apple Cup becomes Gino Simone's time to shine. ... We also have a game story from a Portland freelancer, where the Cougars defeated the University of Portland 83-73 last night. WSU now heads down to Anaheim for its holiday tournament, starting Thanksgiving vs. Oklahoma. Really wish I was on this trip. ... We have more football, including Bob Condotta's story on Halliday's injury in the Times and freelancer Howie Stalwick on the same subject in the News Tribune. In basketball, here's Stalwick's game story from the Tribune and the story from the Oregonian (there a link to the box score in that story).


• Around the Pac-12:'s Ted Miller has his power rankings and bowl predictions. The conference has seven bowl eligible teams but may get eight berths. ... The conference's goals have changed, writes Bud Withers. ... Washington: The Huskies are favored by less than a touchdown. ... Oregon State: The Beavers have a chance to build a life-long memory. ... Oregon: The Ducks try to pick up the pieces after a deflating loss to USC. Luckily, the Civil War is its own motivation. ... California: Zach Maynard continues to improve. ... Stanford: The Cardinal still has an outside shot at the national title game. ... Colorado: The Buffs' seniors have one more chance to win on the road, at ... Utah: The Utes, with a win over Colorado, could end up in the Pac-12 title game. ... USC: Thanks to the win over Oregon on national TV, Matt Barkley might end up in New York. ... UCLA: Rick Neuheisel believes the Bruins are closer to USC than they used to be. ... Reeves Nelson needs to read his bus schedule. ... Arizona State: The Sun Devils host California in a big game for a lot of people. ... Arizona: The Wildcats played a great game at ASU, but may have lost their senior quarterback.


• That's it for now. We'll be back after WSU's football practice tonight. Until then ...

Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

Follow Vince online:

Looking for a Grip on Sports?

Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.