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ATLANTA – In a universe based on fairness and justice, we would find how ridiculous it is that the perception of Washington's football program is largely based on the outcome of a so-called Neutral-site game based in three time zones from its campus against another top-10 team that had 90% of the fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Also, we would acknowledge that the success or failure of Washington's 2200-mile trip to a proverbial coin toss – a missed deadlock here, a bad red zone series – was traceable and would have been a lot different In a tackle, Trey Adams had not suffered a back injury this week.
If we were to assess on an equal footing and accurately where Washington is facing another high-level team on a national stage after this rare opportunity, we would consider all these things.
But who are you kidding? This is college football where none of this matters.
The truth is, Washington's loss to Auburn means the huskies must be responsible for the next three months for why they could not make it in a de facto SEC street game like well they look against the Pac-12. In a sport where perceptions are often the degree that separates one team from another, Washington could have detained them on September 1st.
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"I don & # 39; I really know, and I really do not care," Washington coach Chris Petersen replied to a question whether this game would help or hurt the farsightedness of his program. "I really do not do it, I mean, I do not know how to put it that way, I mean, it was Game 1 against a good opponent, across the country, enemy territory, kids fought hard, we'll see where It's a long season, if we had won, I'd be the same, kids kicked, played a top team in the country, proud of them, and from now on it's been a long season. "
Petersen is of course just right. And Washington will be a different team at the end of the season, as will Auburn and everyone else. By the time the College Football playoff teams are voted on December 2, both may or may not be in the mix. Nobody really knows.
But one of the biggest frustrations in the playoff era is that every first week result is filtered through a projection, which means it's for a team and a conference. And since the Pac-12 did not have a true national championship contender since Oregon 2014 and fought in Bowl games last season, there was already some insight in the season that Washington needed to beat Auburn just to win in the playoff race stay.
While the short history of the playoff suggests that this is not true at all – a Power Five conference champion with a loss still has a great opportunity to get in – there's something about the idea that the perceived weakness of the Pac-12 everything will devalue Washington is doing from here.
"If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best," said Jaylen Johnson, the Defense Judge of Washington. "We had a taste of the best, it was a top 10 matchup, they are a great team and we are a great team, and it's good to do this training against great teams, especially for the rest of the season We know what that standard looks like. "
Actually, we do not know if Auburn is a great team or will become one.
The most important takeaway from the Tigers was that their power-running game, which was the engine of their two SEC championship games under Gus Malzahn, did not look particularly strong (45 rushes for 147 yards) against a front seven, whose quality is matched by a few more teams in their schedule. And without some hideous mistakes from Washington, including a fumble from senior quarterback Jake Browning on the 3-yard line, as the Huskies drove to take the lead in the third quarter, we talked about Gus Malzahn's seven-year, $ 49 million instead Contract, starting with three consecutive losses.
But even then, Auburn would have the opportunity to make the narrative like last season after an ugly loss to Clemson. That's the beauty of the game in the SEC.
For Washington, Pac-12 not only provides the same kind of redemption value, but it also has to fly across the country to gain some kind of credibility outside the conference. Even as the Huskies came into playoff in 2016, they were unlucky enough to see Alabama in Atlanta.
Do you think that Alabama or Georgia would ever make a big payday to play the huskies in San Francisco or Denver? Of course not. But that's why Saturday was a bit bigger for Washington, and for all the good things the huskies did, it can not help in the end.
"I do not think it's unfair," said offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan. "Those are the kinds of games we have to win, whether on the East Coast, on the West Coast, we have to finish."
They almost made it and ran 16:15 to Auburn 6:15 Leadership hit with a 76 yard lead. Fair or not, this little sliver of a season is likely to be bigger for Washington than any other team in the country. Only an idiot would write off a team as good as the huskies, based on what happened on Saturday. But in the narrative world of college football, where image issues and rankings are the norm, there are a lot of fools.