Look, I’m just gonna come out and say it: I was SHITFACED during the USC game on Saturday. I started tailgating at around 9am, probably played close to 6 straight hours of beer pong, and by the time I sat my ass down at the Northlake Tavern for pizza and more beer, I either browned out during the entire first half, or straight up slept sitting up in the booth. After making my way home for the second half, I slept through most of the third quarter as well, waking up briefly to witness John Ross’ 70-yard TD catch, and pretty much nodded off and on until the bitter end. Then, I watched the last half of Love Actually, balled my eyes out, and went to bed. 1/2 star, would not recommend.
So, you know, I don’t really have much to add to the game experience. I guess USC’s defense is pretty fudging good. And our offense – outside of John Ross – was pretty fudging mediocre.
I was dreading the latest poll from the college football playoff selection committee. Let’s face it, once this playoff run of ours started to become REAL, I’ve been insecure as can be about our chances (I feel, for good reason, but that’s neither here nor there). We had JUST cracked the Top 4, after much hand wringing about SEC-bias the week before, and then we go and blow it. AT HOME no less! To a 3-loss USC team! Sure, they were ranked 20th, and were riding (at the time) a 5-game winning streak, but four of those teams were duds! It honestly felt like the committee was doing ESPN Gameday a favor by making our matchup more appealing to the masses. Had we beaten USC like we should have, they sure as shit wouldn’t be ranked today, and our victory over them would look – like all the rest of ’em – kinda meh.
I was also in utter despair because – SHIT MAN – Michigan AND Clemson both lost on the same day, to teams they should’ve beaten (not to mention Auburn losing to Georgia, which took out that whole Iron Bowl scenario I’d been fretting about last week)! That was our chance to put a stranglehold on our playoff spot! On top of that, we likely would have risen to #2 (#3 at the lowest), meaning if we could’ve kept winning, we would’ve avoided Alabama in the semifinals.
Just … just a crusher.
Then the AP and Coaches polls came out, and the Huskies were 7th, with Ohio State, Louisville, and Wisconsin all passing us. Of course. I figured, best case, that’s where we’d be in the playoff rankings too, with a very real possibility of the likes of Penn State or Oklahoma passing us. Bottom line, I was ready to get on here and dismiss out of hand any chances for a 1-loss Washington Husky football team to re-enter the Top 4.
And yet, here we are! 6th! That’s a nice little surprise. The top four consists of Bama, Ohio State, Michigan and Clemson, with Louisville parked in front of us, and Wisconsin behind us. THIS, I think, we can work with! Let’s take a look at things.
For starters, either Ohio State or Michigan will likely leave the Top 4 when they play one another. I can’t imagine either one of them losing between now and then, but that’s an opportunity right there. Wisconsin is the leader of the pack in the Big 10 West, with the edge over Nebraska thanks to their head-to-head win. They close out with Purdue (bad) and Minnesota (surprisingly good). The Golden Gophers mostly have a good record because they haven’t played anyone, but they could REALLY help us out by beating Wisconsin. Assuming either Ohio State or Michigan wins out, that’s going to be a help to us regardless of what the Badgers do these next two weeks.
Louisville has already lost to Clemson, so if both teams finish with the same record, the Cardinals won’t have an opportunity to play for the ACC championship. They also play Houston between now and then, which is definitely an opportunity for us (the Cougars aren’t terrible). On the Clemson side of things, they play Wake Forest and South Carolina. I doubt they’ll lose to either of those teams, but I also doubted they’d lose to Pitt last week, and here we are. If they win out (or, just finish with the same record as Louisville), they’ll face either North Carolina or Virginia Tech in the ACC championship game. I think Tech is the better team, so hopefully they can get there.
In short, the Huskies need two teams ahead of them to stumble, while they win out. We’re no longer in control of our destiny, but as long as something wonky doesn’t happen in the Big 10, there’s a SLIGHT chance we could leapfrog a 1-loss team like Louisville, assuming we are also a 1-loss team (meaning we win out).
What’s really going in our favor right now is how highly regarded the Pac-12 is right now.
- Washington – 6th
- Colorado – 10th
- Utah – 12th
- USC – 13th
- Washington State – 22nd
- Stanford – 24th
Oh SHIT YEAH! Six teams, baby! Colorado plays Wazzu and Utah these next two weeks. If they win out, and we face them in the Pac-12 Championship Game, MY GOD will that be a huge game! We could be talking about two teams in the Top 8 in the country, at which point, you’re talking about a statement game to end all statement games.
Utah gets Oregon and Colorado. If Utah wins out, they’ll win the Pac-12 South thanks to victories over USC and Colorado (all would have 2 losses in this scenario). You’d think, by beating the Buffs, Utah would climb into the Top 10, which is still a significant game for us in the Pac-12 title game.
USC has UCLA and Notre Dame to close out. They need a ton of help to win the South, and quite frankly, I don’t know if that’s a rematch I feel super comfortable about engaging in.
Wazzu obviously has Colorado and UW. If they get crushed by the Buffs (game played in Colorado), I could see the Cougs falling out of the Top 25. But, at this point, I don’t give a shit. I think it’s more important for a team like Colorado to reach the conference championship game with 1 loss than it is for the Cougs to be undefeated in conference heading into the Apple Cup. Let’s face it, as it is the Cougs are riding an 8-game winning streak and are 7-0 in the Pac-12, and they’ve only managed to climb as high as 22nd in the rankings? That goes to show their loss to Eastern isn’t going away any time soon. It even trumps a close loss to a Top 20 team in Boise State, for those talking about Washington’s non-conference schedule. At least we didn’t lose to the likes of the Eastern Fucking Eagles.
So, I’m going to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again. LET’S GET RE-EXCITED ABOUT HUSKY FOOTBALL EVERYONE! It’s not over, even if that nagging, clawing doubt won’t go away entirely.