In 2014, WSU and UW’s football schedules both have more benefits than flaws. Best of all, the Apple Cup returns to Saturday.
Washington and Washington State Wednesday announced their football schedules for 2014, and both feature major improvements compared to last season.
The Cougars, who played just five games at Martin Stadium in 2013, next season will host six games in Pullman, highlighted by a Sept. 20 match-up with Oregon, a Nov. 1 game with USC and the Apple Cup Nov. 29, which will return to a Saturday for the first time since 2011.
UW fans that hate weekday games can head to The Ram to celebrate with Tosh Lupoi. Next season, the Huskies play exclusively on Saturdays.
The Chris Petersen era kicks off Aug. 30 at Hawaii before UW returns home Sept. 6 to play Eastern Washington. UW plays the second half of a home-and-home with Illinois Sept. 13 at Husky Stadium, then finishes its non-conference schedule Sept. 20 at home against Georgia State.
In Pac-12 play, the Huskies host Stanford (Sept. 27), Arizona State (Oct. 25), UCLA (Nov. 8) and Oregon State (Nov. 22). They have one bye week, which comes Oct. 4, and conference road games against California (Oct. 11), Oregon (Oct. 18), Colorado (Nov. 1) and Arizona (Nov. 15).
WSU has a non-conference slate so weak (with potential blowouts) that it might not allow coach Mike Leach to figure out how to manage the clock at the end of games.
The Cougars begin the season with the annual Seattle Game, Aug. 28, against Rutgers at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field. The opener is the Thursday before Labor Day, which had Washington State athletic director Bill Moos sounding excited.
“This is truly an outstanding schedule for our team and our fans,” he said. “Having six games in Martin Stadium has not happened in a while and the conference slate of home games is outstanding. In addition, playing new Big Ten member Rutgers in Seattle on the Thursday night of Labor Day weekend should prove to be attractive.”
After that, the non-conference slate features a couple of patsies, at Nevada (Sept. 6) and vs. Portland State (Sept. 13), before the Pac-12 opener against Oregon.
WSU’s other conference road games are evenly dispersed: It plays Utah Sept. 27, Stanford Oct. 10, Oregon State Nov. 8 and Arizona State Nov. 22. The Cougars also receive two byes — Oct. 18 and Nov. 15 — and other home games against California (Oct. 4) and Arizona (Oct. 25).