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New Washington State schedule features back-to-back Friday games against UW, USC

UPDATED: Sat., Oct. 3, 2020

Washington State cornerback Derrick Langford breaks up a pass intended for Washington receiver Terrell Bynum on Nov. 29, 2019, in Seattle.  (Theo Lawson / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State cornerback Derrick Langford breaks up a pass intended for Washington receiver Terrell Bynum on Nov. 29, 2019, in Seattle. (Theo Lawson / The Spokesman-Review)

The Apple Cup won’t be the final game of Washington State’s season for the first time since 2008, but the intrastate rivalry still will maintain some sense of familiarity during the most unusual of years.

The 113th edition of the Apple Cup will be the fifth of seven games the Cougars will play during a truncated 2020 season and will take place on Nov. 27, or Black Friday, at Martin Stadium.

The rivalry will be the first of back-to-back Friday night games for Washington State, which will play its first of two crossover games against USC on Dec. 4 at Memorial Coliseum.

All Pac-12 teams not participating in the conference title game will play a second crossover game on Dec. 19. Pairings for those games will be determined by the teams playing in the championship game.

At first glance, WSU’s schedule appears to be one of the most challenging in the league. While the Cougars have the advantage of facing their two toughest Pac-12 North rivals at home – those being Oregon and Washington – they seemingly drew the most challenging crossover game for a North team, visiting Clay Helton’s USC Trojans.

During a KXLY radio appearance , Cougars Athletic Director Pat Chun said members of the Pac-12’s CEO Group voted on different scheduling models.

“Trust me, we voted for the schedule that we felt was best for Washington State and that wasn’t the one that came out today,” Chun said. “But that’s just part of it. In my couple years in this league – I don’t even know what the vote fell out to be – but we’ve never had a unanimous vote on the schedule. Just because, that’s your priority.

“There really wasn’t a lot you could do with the schedule this year. We did vote on a couple options when it was all said and done. The challenge was, we didn’t want to do anything to impact 2021. We didn’t want a scenario where one school is visiting the same school three years in a row.”

In many ways, the Cougars’ Pac-12 schedule is similar to the original slate released in January, nearly two months before the COVID-19 pandemic indefinitely shuttered college sports.

Similar to the old schedule, WSU will open up the Pac-12 season, and the Nick Rolovich era, at Oregon State on Nov. 7.

The Cougars have won six consecutive games against the Beavers and last year’s showdown, a 54-53 win, punched WSU’s postseason ticket.

The following week, WSU will host No. 14 Oregon on Nov. 14 in its home opener, hoping to beat the Ducks in Martin Stadium for the third consecutive time.

Rolovich, who was born in Daly City, California, will return to his home area for WSU’s next game, on Nov. 21 at Stanford. The Cougars will try to extend their four-game winning streak against the Cardinal, the program’s longest since winning eight straight in the series from 1957-64.

WSU will play consecutive Friday night games, versus Washington on Nov. 27 and USC on Dec. 4.

The Cougars didn’t play the Trojans last season and will make their first visit to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum since WSU’s controversial loss at USC in 2018.

The last known opponent on WSU’s schedule is California. The Golden Bears will make the trip to Pullman on Dec. 12 for what promises to be a chilly Pac-12 North duel.

Cal has won two of the past three games, but WSU won the most recent game at Martin Stadium, in 2018.

Kickoff times and broadcasts are to be determined, but national television networks ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FOX and FS1 will carry every Pac-12 game the first six weeks of the season and FOX will air the Dec. 18 championship game.

“Our players and coaches are ready to roll,” Rolovich said in a school release. “This is a very determined team and I am appreciative of their commitment to each other over the past few months.

“I expect that same determination to be evident throughout camp and into the season opener against Oregon State. We are excited to get going.”

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