Sunday, November 6, 2016

Huskies are 9-0, Still Not Respected

For a few glorious hours last night after they decimated Arizona, the Washington State Cougars were leading the Pac-12 North Division with a 7-2 over all, 6-0 in conference record. Because the University of Washington Huskies played late (7:30 Pacific Time) and only had an 8-0 overall record with only a 5-0 in conference record, Wazzu fans got to know the thrill of being number one, at least for a short while.

That was until UW beat California by a score of 66-27 to maintain their unbeaten status, go to 9-0 on the season, and go to 6-0 in conference.

Sorry Cougs.

The game started out looking like it might be a challenge for the Huskies. In fact, California scored
first with a field goal coming off a very very bad punt by the Huskies that gave California very good field position to start their series. That the defense held them to a field goal is amazing.

And the offense wasn't doing much better. Except for a couple of long bombs by quarterback Jake Browning to John Ross, which led to touchdowns, the offense was just lack luster all through the first half.

Then the second half came and things changed. The defense stopped Cal on nearly every drive and the offense would march down the field and score on nearly ever possession. Once again, at about nine and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, Washington started putting in second-string players. And they still made a touchdown.

The Huskies have won seven of their nine victories with more than 40 points. This is the first time the Huskies have gone 9-0 since 1991 when they were co-national champions (one poll picked them, one poll picked another team, I think Miami of Florida). This kind of thing is why, eventually, they went to a playoff system (after the horrible experiment with the BCS).

The AP Top 25 Poll today has the Huskies still at #4 (WSU at 23, up two). But really, no one cares anymore since the CFB Selection Committee Rankings, which come out on Tuesday. There is a lot of speculation about what's going to happen.

As you may recall, the Huskies were #5 in that ranking. despite being #4 in the AP poll and the USA Today poll. The top four teams in that ranking go to the playoffs, so being #5 is significant. Last week Texas A&M was #4. But they lost to an unranked team yesterday which means they will likely drop from that spot.

Jake Browning
So does UW move to #4 now? The FBS Selection Committee might move Ohio State to #4, skipping over UW, because of UW's lack of strength of schedule. Ohio State is 8-1 It was those three easy pushover teams we played before conference play. We'll find out Tuesday. And I'll probably blog about it.

If the Huskies can stay unbeaten and win the Pac-12 Championship game on December 2nd, they will probably go to the CFB playoffs. But that means winning the Apple Cup against Washington State. Washington State is looking better and better even though they lost to an FCS team early in the season. It's going to be tough to beat them when they will have home-field advantage. And the Apple Cup could very well be the battle for the Pac-12 North Division championship.

Meanwhile, in the Pac-12 South, after Utah lost to Washington, they are probably out of the running for the South Division title. Right now the Colorado Buffaloes are on top with USC close behind. The Huskies play USC next week at home, so that could help determine who wins the Pac-12 South. UW doesn't play Colorado this year, unless we end up playing them in the Championship game.

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