BY Todd Dybas 09:15AM 12/04/2010

The predictions: Apple Cup edition

Coaching jobs, legacies, bowl bids are all on the line Saturday afternoon in Pullman when the Huskies and Cougars clash.

Will Washington and running back Chris Polk bang their way to an Apple Cup win? (Drew Sellers/Sportspress Northwest)

The Huskies were booed and snow was hurled during Friday’s walk-through in Pullman. Saturday brings a cold, clear day and the Huskies as a 5.5-point favorite according to USA Today, a significant dip from the opening line of eight points. Washington and Washington State kickoff at 4 p.m. on Versus. The SPNW picks for this Apple Cup filled with storylines:

Art Thiel (8-3 overall, 7-4 against the spread)
Not really sold yet on the renaissance of the Huskies’ defense. It feasted on some gooey opponent quarterbacking the last two weeks, compared to Jeff Tuel, who is a moderate Pac-10 caliber QB talent. The Cougars have had three weeks to prepare for this game, which is just enough time to teach them a new play. And WSU fans discovered this week they were oversupplied with burnable furniture, so the civic momentum for a post-game street fire figures to be overpowering. Washington State 17, Washington 16

Seth Kolloen (4-7, 3-8)
Facing their first competent passing attack since October, the Husky defense allows Jeff Tuel to pick them apart. Jake Locker’s feet can’t find purchase on the icy field, and his career ends with a third Apple Cup loss. Washington State 34, Washington 13

Todd Dybas (4-7, 4-7)
Never has a two-win team, one a single-point win over Montana State at home, received more credit. The Cougars have played better of late, and Jeff Tuel is emerging. But let’s not forget this team is last in scoring offense and last in scoring defense in the conference. For all the misgivings about the Washington secondary, the Washington State secondary is worse. A big day for Jermaine Kearse and a strong day on the ground send Washington bowling. For his niceties, don’t underestimate Jake Locker’s guts. Washington 31, Washington State 17

SPNW special additions:

Steve Rudman
Jake Locker’s career will end the way that Sonny Sixkiller’s did — with a loss to Washington State in the Apple Cup. Washington State 27, Washington 10

Doug Farrar
The Huskies have the more portable game if Chris Polk is handed the rock time after time — ironically, with all the talk about Jake Locker’s legacy, the best chance for victory in his last non-bowl game with the Huskies resides in his ability to hand the ball off and work as an option runner in small doses. The real legacy on the line here is that of Washington defensive coordinator Nick Holt, who must continue recent successes and find a way to deal with Wazzu’s passing game. Washington 17, Washington State 10


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