The Apple Cup will continue past the 2023 college football season.
Saturday’s game between No. 5 Washington and Washington State is the final time the two schools will meet on the football field as Pac-12 rivals. Sunday, the schools announced that the rivalry game would continue as a non-conference series through “at least” 2028.
"The Apple Cup is one of the oldest and most renowned rivalries in all of collegiate athletics," Washington State president Kirk Schulz said in a statement. "For more than a century, fans across the state have been circling the Apple Cup date on their calendars. We are pleased that we will be able to continue this beloved tradition for future generations of Coug fans."
The in-state rivalry was in danger of no longer being an annual affair because of the dissolution of the Pac-12. Washington is one of four schools leaving for the Big Ten at the end of the 2023-24 college sports season and Washington State and Oregon State are left as the two remaining members of the Pac-12.
But common sense thankfully prevailed in this case and the game will continue. At least for a handful of seasons. Next season's game will be at Lumen Field — the home of the Seattle Seahawks — before four on-campus games. Washington hosts Washington State on Saturday in the 115th meeting between the schools. Washington leads the all-time series 75-33-6.
"The Apple Cup tradition is beloved by Huskies, Cougars and football fans across Washington and beyond, so one of my priorities has been to ensure that it continues into this new era," Washington president Ana Mari Cauce said in a statement. "I'm thrilled that we'll be able to continue this tradition, and to kick off the new era at Lumen Field before returning to each campus."
Conference realignment has seen the destruction of annual rivalries in recent years. Texas and Texas A&M stopped playing when the Aggies went to the SEC, though the rivalry resumes next season when Texas joins the league. Kansas and Missouri haven’t met on the football field since the Tigers went to the SEC and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State aren’t set to meet anytime soon once the Sooners are officially members of the SEC.
Keeping Washington on the schedule means that Washington State has a good idea of what its schedule could look like in 2024. Yahoo Sports reported earlier in the week that Washington State and Oregon State had re-entered talks with the Mountain West on a scheduling alliance that would see the two remaining Pac-12 schools play mostly Mountain West opponents.