Apple Cup: WSU and Washington agree to continue series after Pac-12 breaks apart

Harry, left, the Washington mascot, interacts with Butch, the Washington State mascot (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

An ancient West Coast football rivalry will continue into the next era as the Washington schools on Sunday announced an agreement to continue the Apple Cup following the breakup of the Pac-12.

The Cougars and Huskies signed a five-year contract that begins next season with a neutral-field matchup, followed by four games played on a home-and-home basis.

Washington is moving to the Big Ten in 2024 while WSU is expected to compete in the Pac-12 along with Oregon State — an unprecedented two-team conference permissible under NCAA rules.

The Apple Cup matchup scheduled for Sept. 14, 2024 will be played at Lumen Field, the home of the Seahawks.

The 2025 and 2027 games will be in Pullman, with the 2026 and 2028 matchups at Husky Stadium.

The dates have not been finalized for 2025-28, but the series likely will be played in September because of Washington’s commitment to Big Ten games in October and November.

Apple Cup games played in Seattle will be owned by the Big Ten’s media partners (Fox, NBC and CBS) as part of UW’s contract with the conference.

The games in Pullman will be part of the media rights package sold by WSU and Oregon State under the Pac-12 banner.

The Cougars and Huskies are expected to share the revenue for the game at Lumen Field; the other four will be treated like normal non-conference homes games, with the host keeping the gate receipts.

Discussions between WSU and the Huskies accelerated after Troy Dannen took over as UW’s athletic director in October following a search to replace Jen Cohen, who accepted the same position at USC prior to the season.

The 2024 matchup proved a sticking point. It was supposed to be in Pullman based on the current site rotation, but UW wasn’t in position to play a road game because of the Big Ten schedule.

Seahawks president Chuck Arnold provided a neutral-field option.

“This wouldn’t be happening next year without him,” a source said.

The other traditional Pacific Northwest rivalry thrust into disarray by the collapse of the Pac-12, Oregon State’s annual date with Oregon, is also expected to continue into the next era, although a formal announcement has not been made.

Washington’s schedule in 2024 will feature nine Big Ten games, plus non-conference dates with Eastern Michigan, Weber State and Washington State.

UW’s annual collision with Oregon is being moved to the final Saturday of the season, the spot traditionally reserved for conference rivalries.

Washington State’s schedule is in flux as the Cougars and Oregon State fight for control of the Pac-12 and make plans to compete as a two-team league.

The schools are attempting to arrange a scheduling partnership with the Mountain West that would provide six games for each team in the 2024-25 seasons.

WSU and OSU have several non-conference games already under contract, and they will play each other at least once and perhaps twice if a home-and-home series is necessary to fill out the 12-game schedule.

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