SEATTLE – Remember 2008? Courtney Hughes does.

"It was the year I graduated college. I came home, and went to my last Sonics game,” Hughes said. “It was sad, wasn't so much fun around here."

Yes, 2008 was historically bad for Seattle sports fans.

The Sonics left. The Mariners lost 101 games. The Seahawks were 4-12. The Huskies went 0-12.

If you throw in the Cougs, as many Seattle-ites do, Washington State University won what some have referred to as the "Crapple Cup," one of their only two wins on the season.

That's what makes this year significantly different.

The Seahawks top the NFC West. The Huskies are 10-1, and in National Title contention. The Cougs are 8-3, and can still make the Rose Bowl. The Sounders are playing for a Western Conference Championship this week.

"It's definitely the time to be a Seattleite," said Hughes, who bought Sounders and Seahawks gear at the team store on Monday.

It’s a fact not lost on Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer, who mentioned the success at the team's Monday practice.

"I happened to be at the Seahawks game yesterday, and that was a good experience,” Schmetzer said. “The people in Seattle are in for a good weekend, the Huskies did well. We have a great crowd, always, always loud."

The Sounders play the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

On Friday, University of Washington and WSU meet in Pullman for the biggest Apple Cup in decades. You'd have to go back to 1981 to find a game in which both teams were playing for a chance at a Rose Bowl, or 1936 for an Apple Cup which determined a title.

In this case, the Cougs and Dawgs are playing for the Pac-12 North Championship and a berth in the league title game a week later.

Both coaches tried to downplay the importance of the game on Monday.

"There aren't a bunch of big games, if there aren't a bunch of big games prior to it," quipped WSU Head Coach Mike Leach.

Leach’s counterpart, Chris Petersen smiled multiple times while talking about Leach and the game, and didn't provide any bulletin board material.

"This is the year, and a new challenge," he said when asked about the game.

No matter the outcome, both teams could be playing in big time bowl games this season, which would be a marked contrast to that year that every local sports fan would like to forget.