Washington football fans were understandably upset when the first College Football Playoff rankings were released, but if the Huskies still aren’t in the top four this week it may be for the best.
When the first College Football Playoff rankings were released on November 1, Washington fans were shocked to see Texas A&M – a one-loss team from the SEC – ranked at number four above the undefeated Huskies, who sat at number five.
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While the initial shock was understandable, it’s pretty clear that the lower ranking may have been advantageous to the Huskies in the long run.
Texas A&M traveled to Starkville, Mississippi to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs, a team that the Aggies rightfully should have wiped the field with. The Bulldogs sat at 3-5 and were given little chance against the high-powered rival.
The No. 4 Aggies were dealt a huge blow, losing to unranked Mississippi State, 35-28, opening the door for a new number four team in the playoff hunt.
After the 66-27 dismantling of Cal by the Huskies, it’s almost certain Chris Petersen’s team will be rewarded with a bump up into the playoff top four, but fans should hope that the committee still isn’t sold on Husky-ball just yet.
The top four ranking comes with a price, and that price is a target squarely nestled on the chest of the team carrying it. One of the reasons Washington was so easily able to beat the Golden Bears was the lack of pressure. All the Huskies needed (and still need) to do was play like they had all season.
Cal had no extra motivation to beat Washington other than it being a conference game. There was no “we can knock them out of the playoffs” attached to the win.
Maybe every Washington football fan should pen a letter to the College Football Playoff committee that opens like this…
“Dear playoff committee – please don’t paste the target on the Huskies this week.”
Here’s hoping the playoff committee gives Louisville or Ohio State a bump over Washington this week. The Cardinals – who already have a loss to No. 3 Clemson – will have all the pressure in the world not to lose another game, and the Buckeyes – who also have a conference loss – haven’t looked like they’re ready to face quality teams yet.
With just three games remaining against USC, Arizona State and rival Washington State, the Huskies only concern should be preparing for each opponent and winning each game. The idea of this young team having a playoff berth riding on every game is concerning.
All Jake Browning, Myles Gaskin, John Ross and the rest of the Huskies need to do is play their game, just like they have every week this season. Don’t worry about the rankings, and don’t scoreboard watch.
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Win, and everything will take care of itself. The playoff committee will have a hard time explaining an undefeated Pac-12 team being left out of the playoffs against a one or two-loss team from another Power-5 conference.