Pac-12 hopeful Washington Football team’s NCAA playoffs chances took another blow over the weekend. Notre Dame’s win over USC has propelled ND into playoff mix
The Washington Football team loss to Arizona State University may be a blessing in disguise. On one hand, it could be interpreted as a wake up call. On the other hand, it is simply a cold slap in the face. Or yet, it even is bad luck. But it had a different appearance to those who watched the loss to Arizona State University in it’s entirety. For that select crowd, the Washington Football team appeared to show up in name and uniform only.
But a week later, the hope remained for a better outlook. Instead, hopes are dimmed. The USC loss to Notre Dame hurt the Pac-12 reputation nationally. The ESPN-appointed best team in the Pac-12 is now 6-2, and smarting from a beatdown at the hands of Fighting Irish. The 49-14 thrashing was even more lopsided than Notre Dame’s opener against the Temple Owls.
Now, the nation sees USC as par to Temple. And the constructed narrative which annointed Sam Darnold‘s USC as the Pac-12 champion before the season began is now sinking the entire conference.
USC pulled the Pac-12 down
Notre Dame demolished USC. So now, in some NCAAF version of Outlander, the Fighting Irish now claim the rights to the NCAA playoff once bestowed upon USC. That leaves either Washington or Washington State as the two teams still with a chance at a playoff invitation. But the nation must sort through eight undefeated teams among the probable suitors. And while you may think a loss to an undefeated team propels Washington to the top again, that’s not the likely scenario.
Second ranked Penn State (7-0) faces Ohio State (6-1). Thinking a loss to Penn State pulls the Huskies up is misguided hopes. Should Penn State fall, the Ohio State Buckeyes lay claim to an NCAA playoff bid, and Penn State will likely remain ranked higher than Washington. Even Wisconsin (7-0) likely benefits from a Penn State loss more than Washington.
Playoff hopes dimmed, but not extinguished
The only hope Washington has is to win out. No losses. No ties. And the team must do so on the heels of the loss to ASU. So that means there can be no margin for error.
That may be just fine for the Washington Huskies. Last year, the team lost to USC and needed to win out to earn a playoff bid. And win out they did. This year’s schedule poses a more difficult challenge in that the team faces a much tougher schedule after the bye. And with the team short several key starters, it truly will test the depth of the roster to win out this year.
The team needs a win against visiting UCLA. Win one game at a time. Commit to the run. Win with a strong defense. It can be done. It’s been done before.
But the bright hopes to a new season are not as bright now. And as the hopes dim, so too do the chances at a consecutive NCAA playoff appearance.