The Washington Huskies football team has taken a 180 degree turn since the hiring of Chris Petersen, after a decade and a half of mediocrity. After Friday’s 45-17 victory over rival #23 (#23) Washington State in the 109th annual Apple Cup, the Huskies have earned their spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on December 2nd.
Sophomore QB, Jake Browning, once considered among the front runners for the Heisman this season, finished the day 21 for 29 passing, with 292 yards, three touchdowns, all in the first half, and zero interceptions. On the year, Browning has a 64.3 completion percentage (193 for 300) with 37 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. His outing today may be the boost he was looking for to get back in the Heisman conversation, after a poor showing against USC two weeks ago, although I don’t think it will be enough to best some of the men ahead of him. Browning is already among my early favorites to win the award next season.
The win today over Washington State was the Huskies’ fourth in a row, including the past three years since Petersen took over. It was also the first Apple Cup in which both teams were in the top 25 since 2001 (#16 Washington vs. #9 Washington St.). Washington moves to 11-1 on the season, 8-1 in Pac-12 play, and clinched the Pac-12 North title, earning their first conference title game bid since the conference expanded in 2011.
A Colorado victory this weekend over Utah would earn them a meeting with Washington in the title game, while a Utes’ win would give USC the nod, who beat the Huskies 26-13 on November 12th, their only loss of the season. A victory for Washington would all but guarantee them a spot in the College Football Playoff, thanks to a matchup this weekend between #2 Ohio State and #3 Michigan. The winning team would lock up the Big Ten East title, earning a spot in the conference championship game, with the loser likely sitting just outside the top 4. Either way, I don’t see any way Petersen, Browning, and company will miss out on a Playoff game this winter.
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