Contrary to some skepticism among Huskies fans, coach Chris Petersen trusts that the College Football Playoff committee will do the right thing if CFP No. 5 Washington (11-1, 8-1) beats CFP No. 9 Colorado (10-2, 8-1) Friday to become Pac-12 Conference champion. He thinks UW will be selected for the four-team playoff field.
“I feel pretty good, pretty confident,” he said Monday at his weekly press conference. “I’ve always said that. If we take care of business, everywhere I’ve been, those people usually do the right thing. Our whole focus is on Colorado. We’ve got a big hurdle there, and if we can get over that hurdle, yeah.”
The fret for the Huskies, No. 5 in the CFP poll from last week but expected to advance to No. 4 Tuesday after No. 3 Michigan lost to No. 2 Ohio State, is that even though they are among the four remaining Power Five conference teams with one or no losses, it’s possible that based on a tougher schedule, a two-loss team could be selected ahead of them.
Penn State and Wisconsin, both with two losses, will play for the Big 10 title Saturday. But those teams, along with Ohio State and Michigan, will likely be part of the the CFP’s top seven teams Tuesday, suggesting that a second Big 10 team besides the conference champion could be seen as more deserving of reward than a one-loss team from the weaker Pac-12 whose champ played a particularly weak non-conference slate.
But that is an if-then scenario that awaits resolution on Selection Day Sunday at 9 a.m., when the four-team field is announced. So Petersen is sticking with worrying about the South Division champ Buffaloes, whom the Huskies have not played the past two years.
“This is a unique team that plays tremendous defense and has a unique offense,” he said. “We haven’t seen anything like it this year, with how they run (senior QB Sefo Liufau), how he carries the ball. He’s a good passer but he’s a power runner as well.”
Besides the Buffs this week, Petersen has another worry: Staff predation. With success like the Huskies have had comes interest in hiring away his top assistant coaches now that the regular season is over..
“It’s the worst part of the year for me,” Petersen said. “But my job is to also help guys and their families achieve something they really want, and what their goals are all about.
“It’s also to, hopefully, like our players, make good decisions. I see so many coaches run off to other places — it’s not better in the long run. But when it is better, and that’s really their call, then it’s my job to help them do what they need to do. As long as they’ve done a great job here, and I think what’s going on around here speaks for the job that these coaches are doing, that’s my responsibility to help them. But I hope they don’t go.”