There was a bit of extra good news this weekend, as a lot of things broke right for the Huskies as they watched other teams play for conference titles. Stanford predictably lost to USC, because they suck and didn’t actually belong there in the first place because they’re clearly the third-best team in the Pac-12 and you won’t convince me otherwise. TCU also got their asses kicked by Oklahoma, which knocked them down a peg or three. There was concern that with TCU being so close to the Cotton Bowl, the Huskies would lose their spot to them, but it turns out the Cotton Bowl wanted nothing to do with either of those teams, as they have a really cool matchup of USC vs. Ohio State.
Which left the Fiesta Bowl, who has a tremendous matchup in its own right: the Washington Huskies vs. Penn State.
I’ll get into the matchup a little bit more the week of the game, which is on Saturday, December 30th at 1pm (day drinking, ho!). But, I’ll say for right now that I’m super excited that the Huskies got into one of the Big 6 bowl games, and I’m super excited for the opportunity to finish in the Top 10 in the country for back-to-back seasons (the first time since 1990/1991).
The Final Four ended up being:
Which, I think is appropriate. Only a school like Alabama could render a school like Ohio State with the status of Little Brother. Honestly, this is the best possible outcome for what REALLY needs to happen, which is an 8-team playoff, involving all five Power Conference champions, plus 3 at-large teams. Of course, if Washington was in Ohio State’s shoes, I’d be livid beyond belief, but the Huskies had no business being in the playoffs this year, so I’m fine with it. There are enough Ohio State fans out there – and enough outraged Big 10 fans in general – that hopefully this will lead to substantial change in the system.
It’s absurd how college football can get so many things right, but they always struggle when it comes to crowning a legitimate national champion. I don’t get how this is so hard.
Getting back to the final four, I’ll just say this: if you throw out schedules and just closed your eyes and imagined the four best teams in college football, those would be the four teams I’d choose. Alabama is better than Ohio State. And, frankly, I agree with the committee, you can’t lose by 31 points to a 7-5 Iowa team and expect to be ranked ahead of an Alabama team that only lost to a very good Auburn team. I get it that most teams have a bad game; hell, the Huskies lost to fucking Arizona State (which I still can’t wrap my brain around), but we still held it to within a score! 31 points! Get out of here!
I’m less than thrilled at the very legitimate prospects of a Georgia vs. Alabama championship game, because the SEC and all their fans are already insufferable enough. Now, we’ve got to hear them crow about how we should all just make the SEC champion the national champion and do away with bowl games altogether.
Of course, the flipside of that is Clemson going for a third straight appearance in the National Championship game. As it is, we’re already confronted with the rubber match of their series against Alabama (Bama won it all in 2015, Clemson won it all in 2016) in the Sugar Bowl. So, regardless of who wins that one, we’re still faced with more of the same.
And, as for Oklahoma, I’m sorry, but their quarterback is a douche, their defense is a joke, and you couldn’t pay me to root for a team from that state after they stole our basketball team.
In other words, I guess go Georgia? It might be the lesser of three evils, but I also can’t help but be annoyed that they stole our Twitter hashtag #GodAwgs.
I would argue that the most entertaining non-playoff games will indeed be the Cotton and Fiesta bowls. I like that we’ve got the Big 10/Pac-12 rivalry going. I like that the Cotton Bowl features the two snubbed conference champions (so I would hope they’re both bitter and inspired to kick some ass). And, I like that the Fiesta Bowl features a couple of 10-win teams who were locked out of their conference championship games. I could see a team like Ohio State being disappointed and passionless; but I think Penn State and Washington will be pretty fired up. For one, there was a very good chance Washington would’ve been relegated to the Alamo Bowl, so this has to be a thrill (and a fine consolation for a team with playoff aspirations of their own heading into the season). And, on the Penn State side, I bet they’re still pretty sore about the fact that Washington took their place in the playoffs last year (even though Washington totally deserved its playoff spot and were a pretty worthy foe for an impossibly good Alabama team). This game won’t necessarily decide who was more deserving LAST year, but it’s still as compelling of a matchup as you’ll find this bowl season.
And, of course, you can’t discount the fact that the Pac-12 conference benefits from having two teams in these six major bowl games. Here’s the breakdown, by conference:
- SEC – 3 teams (Georgia, Alabama, Auburn)
- Big 10 – 3 teams (Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin)
- Pac-12 – 2 teams (USC, Washington)
- ACC – 2 teams (Clemson, Miami)
- AAC – 1 team (Central Florida)
- Big-12 – 1 team (Oklahoma)
In the end, it’s everything I could’ve asked for. And, where did Stanford end up? Why, in the Alamo Bowl, of course! With nearby TCU ready and waiting to kick some nerd ass!