The University of Washington has been absent from the upper realm of college football for so long that recognition now is hard won. But it is being won.
When the College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night, the Huskies had moved up to No. 4. Four teams qualify for the “postseason,” so this is no small thing.
The Huskies were excluded last week in favor of one-loss Texas A&M, which then took a little trip to Starkville, Miss., lost to Mississippi State and took a plunge to eighth in the new rankings. Washington (9-0), powered by quarterback Jake Browning, got this week what was rightfully denied it seven days ago.
There’s a lot to like about the Huskies. In their 66-27 victory over Cal (no, I’m not kidding), the Huskies ran up 704 yards, their most ever in a conference game. They are tough and aggressive and making up for lost time. They have bigger goals than the “achievements” of the recent past – the Heart of Dallas Bowl, the Cactus Bowl, the Fight Hunger Bowl.
So Washington is fourth, behind Alabama, Clemson and Michigan, also all 9-0. Michigan’s date with Ohio State (No. 5, 8-1) on Nov. 26 takes on immense proportion now. Assume they meet while they’re both unbeaten. Assume that I will be at your house for a barbecue and to watch the game on your 60-inch screen.
One more victory for the Huskies puts them in rare territory – double-digit wins. The last time the Huskies surpassed nine was 2000, when they finished 11-1 and beat Purdue in the Rose Bowl.
The Rose Bowl. Not the Heart of Cactus Bowl or the Yellow Rose of Texas Bowl. Washington again can aim high.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman