Beware Chris Petersen, the Great Northwest’s Riverboat Gambler

How much havoc could one seemingly unassuming 52-year-old UC-Davis grad wreak? The Huskies must just be happy to be on the same field as mighty Alabama, right?

For every Alabama football fan who considers the Dec. 31 Peach Bowl a mere formality to the Crimson Tide’s 17th national championship, and the Washington Huskies just a purple speed bump on that road to immortality, we would like to remind you of the following X-factor …

Chris Petersen, Riverboat Gambler.

Oh sure, you say. How much havoc could one seemingly unassuming 52-year-old UC-Davis grad wreak? The Huskies must just be happy to be on the same field as mighty Alabama, right?

Presenting Exhibit A:

Oh, NOW you remember Chris Petersen! It was his Boise State Broncos who didn’t belong on the field with mighty Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl! It was Petersen’s Broncos who were a zillion-point underdog, Group of 5 before the Group of 5 was cool unit that hook-and-laddered their way to the end zone against the Sooners!

But wait, there’s more. Cue Exhibit B:

Boise State shocked the world that night in Tempe, upsetting the Sooners in overtime and sending Petersen into coaching immortality. In fact, he won the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award that season and again in 2009 after the Broncos recorded their second undefeated season.

Ultimately, Petersen became just too valuable a coach for Boise State to keep. Three days after a win in the 2013 Apple Cup, fifth-year head Washington coach Steve Sarkisian (sound familiar?) announced that he was leaving Washington to take the same position at Southern Cal. Enter Petersen, who agreed to a five-year, $18 million contract to become the new head coach at Washington.

Petersen hasn’t trick-played it up much in Seattle … so far. But this could be the perfect opportunity on New Year’s Eve against the Crimson Tide.

Alabama football faces Washington in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, Dec. 31.

The Crimson Tide and Huskies have met four times previously, with the most recent contest coming in the 1986 Sun Bowl when the Crimson Tide defeated the Huskies, 28-6, to cap off a 9-3 season.

The winner of the matchup between the Crimson Tide and the Huskies will meet the winner of the game matching the No. 2 Clemson Tigers and the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes, who will play in the other CFP Semifinal Game at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. The 2017 CFP National Championship Game is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

Alabama, making its 65th appearance in a postseason game, has played in more bowl games and earned more postseason victories than any school in college football history. Alabama is making a postseason appearance for the 10th consecutive season under head coach Nick Saban and the 13th straight season overall for the school.

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