The day-after-Thanksgiving Apple Cup matchup between Washington (10-1 overall, 7-1 conference) and Washington State (8-3 overall, 7-1 conference) unofficially serves as a conference semifinal contest, with the winner seizing control of the Pac-12 North Division and securing a spot in the Pac-12 championship game.
Friday's game marks the 109th meeting between the two schools, with kickoff set for 12:30 p.m. PT at Pullman's Martin Stadium. It will be the first Apple Cup since 2001 with both schools ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. The Huskies are No. 6 and the Cougars are No. 23, while UW also owns the No. 5 ranking in the College Football Playoff, a pecking order that also has WSU at No. 23.
The Seahawks will be holding their final practice of Week 12 as the rivalry game gets underway. But Seattle head coach Pete Carroll — as well as several Seattle players with Pac-12 ties — will be anxious to see how this year's cross-state showdown shakes out.
"I think it's a fantastic matchup," Carroll said this past Monday on 710 ESPN Seattle. "We've been watching Washington State all year. I love the quarterback and the play and all that — some of the fourth downs, I don't know — but they just have a really good team and they play hard and tough, they're playing good defense. And Washington has played great all year. They have a fantastic team.
"This could be one of the great matchups. It'll be one of the great rivalry matchups around the country I think."
To help hold the Cougar and Husky fans who read this site over until Friday afternoon's kickoff, we polled every Seahawks player with Pac-12 ties to get their pick for which school they think will win the 2016 Apple Cup. Here's what they had to say:
CALIFORNIA: WR Kenny Lawler
Lawler's Pick: Washington
COLORADO: OL Will Pericak, WR Paul Richardson
Pericak's Pick: Washington State
Richardson's Pick:"I don't care." (To Richardson's credit, he was far more willing to engage in conversation about his Buffaloes' own Pac-12 title-game hopes, as Colorado can also clinch a spot in the Pac-12 championship game with a win over Utah this weekend).
OREGON: FB Will Tukuafu, TE Brandon Williams
STANFORD: WR Doug Baldwin, CB Richard Sherman
Baldwin's Pick: "I don't know. No dog in the fight. They both kicked Stanford's [butt]."
Sherman's Pick:"I hope they both lose."
UCLA: DE Cassius Marsh
Marsh's Pick: Washington
USC: RB George Farmer, LB Mike Morgan
Farmer's Pick: Washington
Morgan's Pick: Washington State
WASHINGTON: WR Kasen Williams, WR Jermaine Kearse
Williams' Pick: Washington
Kearse's Pick: Washington
WASHINGTON STATE: LB Kache Palacio
Palacio's Pick:Washington State
- Kenny Lawler, Will Tukuafu, Brandon Williams, Cassius Marsh, George Farmer, Kasen Williams, Jermaine Kearse
Washington State: 3
- Will Pericak, Mike Morgan, Kache Palacio
Can (Maybe) Still Be Convinced: 3
- Paul Richardson, Doug Baldwin, Richard Sherman