Washington fans, your collective mojo produced some positive results last weekend. But the work has just begun if it is to help will the Huskies back into the playoffs.
While the team itself easily took care of business Saturday in thrashing Oregon 38-3, your efforts cheering for (or against) several other teams helped Washington stay in the hunt for a second consecutive trip to the College Football Playoffs. The Huskies are No. 9 in the latest rankings, up three spots from a week ago and still very much in the hunt.
To recap, here are the Week 10 results that had the biggest impact on Washington climbing the rankings Tuesday:
- Ohio State, which was No. 6 last week, was drubbed 55-24 at Iowa. That dropped the Buckeyes to No. 13.
- Penn State, seventh in the first rankings, lost 27-24 at Michigan State to slip to 14th.
- Oklahoma State, which had been right ahead of Washington at No. 11, lost 62-52 at home to Oklahoma. The Cowboys are now No. 15.
What previously had been eight teams standing between Washington and No. 4 in the playoff rankings, which is the seed the Huskies earned a year ago, now sits at just five teams. And there are still four weeks of games left to affect the standings, including conference championships on Dec. 1-2.
First and foremost, Washington must win out — and do so rather impressively — against the remaining slate of Stanford, Utah and Washington State and then win the Pac-12 title in order to make the playoffs. There’s no debating this topic; it’s hard enough for the Huskies to get in with one loss, doing so with two just won’t happen.
Coach Chris Petersen and his staff will do whatever it takes to handle their business. The rest is up to you, fam, and having Washington play on Friday night this week means that Saturday can be entirely devoted to pushing for (or against) other teams.
And here’s where to focus this weekend:
• No. 1 Georgia at No. 10 Auburn (12:30 p.m. PT): The first thought would be to hope Auburn takes down the top-ranked team, but that could potentially do more harm than good for Washington. A Tigers win would likely jump them over the Huskies regardless of how the Friday trip to Stanford goes.
Auburn has two losses but those were at No. 4 Clemson and No. 24 LSU, and beating the No. 1 team would make the Tigers a very attractive two-loss team if one ends up making the playoffs.
• No. 20 Iowa at No. 8 Wisconsin (12:30 p.m. PT): Wisconsin is the lowest-ranked unbeaten team other than No. 18 UCF, sitting behind four one-loss teams because its schedule to this point has been completely devoid of ranked opponents. That changes with Iowa, which jumped into the Top 25 after blowing out Ohio State.
Can the Hawkeyes do the same thing to the Badgers? They’re 0-3 on the road but those defeats came to No. 12 Michigan State, No. 14 Penn State and No. 25 Northwestern by a combined 16 points, so it’s not impossible. And doing so would take care of a team that would fall out of playoff contention with a single loss.
• No. 3 Notre Dame at No. 7 Miami, Fla. (5 p.m. PT): A loss by either school can help Washington but which one falling would be more beneficial? It’s close, but the edge goes to the Fighting Irish go down.
Why? Because Notre Dame (8-1) has such a strong schedule, going 11-1 means the Irish figure to finish ahead of at least one one-loss power-conference champion. They should win out if they get past Miami, unless Stanford looks better than it did last week against Washington State, so this is the last chance for someone to pick off ND.
• No. 6 TCU at No. 5 Oklahoma (5 p.m. PT): Another toss-up game, and in reality it doesn’t matter which team wins or loses. The more important game comes when the winner, which should end up being the Big 12 regular-season champion, plays in the resurrected conference title game.
It’s quite possible Oklahoma and TCU could meet again in that game, and the best scenario for Washington would have whoever loses the first meeting end up winning the rematch. With that in mind, what Huskies fans should be rooting for in this game is both teams showing flaws that can be exploited the next time they play.
All of this cheering could be moot if Washington loses Friday at Stanford, since a second loss eliminates the Huskies (and the Pac-12) from the playoffs. But let’s focus on the positive and assume they can come out on top.
The post College Football Playoff: The Washington fan’s Week 11 cheer guide appeared first on Diehards.