Middleton: Huskies want to run score up

Where have you gone, Andre DeSaussure, the Apple Cup turns its lonely eyes to you?

Before the 1998 Apple Cup, DeSaussure, a Washington receiver with a quirky personality, announced to reporters: "I think Pullman is a bunch of crap. But it's a place you can go and have a good time, as far as a lot of drunk people."

I've always thought it a cosmic injustice that quote predated me in Seattle by a year. For a reporter covering a rivalry game, that is spun gold.

The Apple Cup has mostly been devoid of good quality trash talk of late. Just like the good quality football.

But it appears Huskies tight end Kavario Middleton wants that to change -- first the trash talk, then, one would assume, the quality football.

Said Middleton: "We want to put up 50 points. Run the score up. Put on a show. We're just trying to make a statement that we are the real deal."

As for as trash talk ratings, that's about 12 clicks below DeSaussure's masterful effort, but it's all I got for you.

Obviously, the 3-7 Huskies are significantly improved from last year's 0-12 team, though early-season hopes for a bowl berth proved a mirage. The same could be said for the Cougars, who have been far more competitive week-to-week, despite their 1-10 record.

Still, in 2001, the Apple Cup matched teams ranked No. 16 and No. 9 in the nation. The next season, the Cougars entered the game ranked No. 3.

But since 2004, both teams have been sliding down the slippery slope of bad, the climax likely -- hopefully -- being last year's Crapple Cup.

Meanwhile, across the border in Oregon, the Civil War next week will be a big national show on ESPN, with the Rose Bowl being the reward for the winner. There was a time when that game was a quaint rivalry with zero national significance. Times change.

Bob Condotta wryly noted in his blog that Middleton won't be available to talk to reporters again this week. He wouldn't have been anyway, per media policy, but this apparently is a Steve-Sarkisian-approved double-no for his potential availability.

Still, the Pac-10 blog salutes Middleton. You poured fans a small cup of colorful with your comment. The divergent reactions it will inspire will remind fans there's a game Saturday.

Perhaps some day in the future, the stakes will be more than pride.