Last week, I made the call for Husky fans to hope for USC’s downfall, as this slip up would set the Washington Huskies on a path to the National Football Playoff set for January. The Trojans did fall, and are currently out of sight for top football spot in the PAC-12, shutting down their chances attending at the end of the football year.
College football fans digested new rankings this past Sunday, showing the Washington Huskies still out of the top four, ranked sixth, and the Cougars just outside of the top ten. The Huskies will need some help to get into the top four and make their way to the National Football playoff in January, however fans still shouldn’t worry.
The key for the Huskies is to win out the PAC-12 conference in convincing fashion. They’ve blown out the Colorado Buffaloes and the Oregon State Beavers, and have the California Golden Bears coming to Seattle this coming Saturday. That’s another win that the Huskies should easily be able to add to their resume.
Other teams ranked higher than the Huskies shouldn’t worry Husky fans either. The Georgia Bulldogs are sitting at five but will have tough games against ranked Florida and Auburn soon. Even if Georgia pulls through to the end, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to win against Alabama in their conference championship game. It is a similar story for Penn State, who is currently sitting at number four. Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin are all also vying for positioning in their own conference, and it’s only a matter of time before these teams start to defeat each other.
Inside the PAC-12, the Cougars are hoping to catch up to the Washington Huskies. Unfortunately for Cougar fans, their recent success likely will be coming to an end this weekend as they face a tough Oregon Ducks team this Saturday. Each Cougar win has embellished their rank, and they’re weaker than they seem. They’ve played every single game at home on the Palouse, which gives them an understandable advantage as there’s a certain comfort being at home, practicing at home, and limiting the stresses of travel. While they’re ranked heading to Oregon, their crowd at Autzen will be hopeful to take down the overrated squad.
Second, their schedule hasn’t convinced anyone of serious playing viability. Although they have won their games, they haven’t faced tough opponents. Their game against the Boise State Broncos went into overtime, which should have been an easy win for the Cougs. The Cougars had to bench their starting quarterback due to horrendous play during the game, and could barely defeat the Bronco defense.
Furthermore, fans understand that the USC Trojans were banged up and were still able to fall within three points to the Cougars. It was a nice win for the Cougars and the win certainly benefits the Huskies, however, the win told us the Cougars are barely better than USC’s replacements.
Now, the Oregon Ducks are fully capable of stealing the win from the Cougars this weekend. Their offense is outstanding and should not be undervalued, so far amassing about 530 yards per game and it would be the first great offense that the Cougars face this year. Oregon’s rushing attack should hit 300 yards this weekend, as the Cougars allow about four yards per carry on average this season. Oregon’s defense is stout up-front, as they’re allowing just under 100 yards per game.
This weekend provides the next turning point for football in the northwest. The Cougars’ run should come to an end, as the Ducks have the firepower to run over the team from the Palouse. The Cougars’ grasp on the PAC-12 would quickly come to an end, giving the Huskies guaranteed breathing room at the top of the conference. The only Husky responsibility would be to finish the weekend strong by beating the California Golden Bears at home in Seattle.
That being said, it’s important to note that winning the PAC-12 is worthy of a ticket to the playoff in January. The teams that are out-of-conference should eventually fall, keeping the Huskies in line for a chance at the National Championship.