A sampling of national-media reaction following UW's bounce-back victory over ASU and WSU's road loss to Colorado.

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They won’t play the Apple Cup with perfect conference records, but the Huskies and Cougars will clash in what will be one of the more perfect matchups in the rivalry’s history.

UW bounced back with a 44-18 win over Arizona State in its home finale while WSU faltered on the road against revived Colorado, 38-24. Despite the loss by the Cougars, both teams will enter Friday’s Apple Cup with 7-1 records in Pac-12 play. The winner will win the North division and face either Colorado or USC in the conference title game. For the Huskies, a win means keeping their College Football Playoff hopes alive for another week. For the Cougars, a win keeps the Rose Bowl in play.

With such a meaningful game coming up, the national media had plenty to say about UW, WSU and the Apple Cup. Below is a sampling:

Chuck Culpepper of The Washington Post put it in perspective following Saturday’s events:

“No. 6 Washington (10-1) and No. 22 Washington State (8-3) will gather for an afternoon of loathing on Friday in Pullman, Wash., with the winner heading for the Pacific-12 Championship Game, where it may well find the most lovable new titan, this resolute bunch from Colorado, which beat Washington State 38-24 and docked the Cougars’ usual 517 total yards to a manageable 462.”

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Sports Illustrated’s Gabriel Baumgaertner had praise for Colorado after beating the Cougars:

“Colorado knocked off No. 22 Washington State, 38–24, in a thrilling tilt in Boulder. Whether or not Colorado clinches the division to advance to the Pac-12 championship game, head coach Mike MacIntyre should be the frontrunner for National Coach of the Year. After winning just 10 games in his first three seasons in charge of the program, MacIntyre has Colorado at 9–2. … Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt has coached up a unit that entered Saturday’s game ranked No. 9 in the nation in total defense and held the high-flying Cougars in check for most of the afternoon. With a veteran defense and a balanced offense led by running back Phillip Lindsay, the Buffs are a ton of fun even if they haven’t commanded national respect.”

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports said Washington is one of the playoff winners of the weekend:

“College Football Playoff winners from the weekend: Washington (10-1), which bounced back from its loss to USC by walloping Arizona State 44-18, and could well move up to No. 5 in the CFP rankings in place of Louisville; Colorado (9-2), which beat Washington State by two touchdowns and will clinch the Pac-12 South with a home victory over Utah next week…”

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich took stock of Washington’s chances for the playoff:

“The Huskies rebounded from their loss to USC with a win against Arizona State, but their résumé took a hit when both Utah and Washington State lost. While Utah should still be ranked, that remains Washington’s lone win against a CFP Top 25 team. With a nonconference strength of schedule that ranks dead last in the FBS, Washington needs all the ranked opponents it can find, and Wazzu might drop out of the Top 25 after suffering its third loss of the season (including an FCS loss). Washington will win the North if it beats Washington State in the Apple Cup and could get another win against a ranked opponent if it beats Colorado to win the Pac-12 title.”

Ben Kercheval of CBSSports.com named Colorado one of his winners of the week (while adding the Apple Cup still has “huge implications”):

“Colorado’s sudden rise back to the top of college football has been one of the feel-good stories of the season. A doormat for the past decade, the once-proud program finally turned a corner under coach Mike MacIntyre. At first, the Buffs made good on that turnaround by achieving bowl eligibility. But then they kept winning, and a 38-24 victory over red-hot Washington State — by far the game of the day — completely changed the narrative. This is no longer just a nice story; Colorado is a legitimate team with a real chance to win the Pac-12 South, maybe more.”