It was a rough weekend for the University of Washington Huskies football team.
Washington was forced to swallow a bitter pill Saturday, as the No. 7 Huskies fell to the No. 17 Oregon Ducks 30-27 in overtime at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.
This one was heartbreaking on so many levels for Husky fans. First, it was a loss to Washington’s most hated Pac-12 rival. Second, Washington had the game won, but freshman kicker Peyton Henry missed a 37-yard field goal as time expired in regulation, sending the game into overtime.
But what made that loss most difficult was what it meant in the big picture of Washington’s season.
The Huskies entered 2018 with lofty goals. This was a team many believed had College Football Playoff possibilities. It had a fourth-year senior starting quarterback in Jake Browning. It had a fourth-year senior star running back in Lynnwood’s Myles Gaskin. It had perhaps the best collection of defensive backs in the nation. After reaching the final four two years ago, it was thought that this collection of players had the best chance of repeating that feat and being an national championship contender.
But those hopes are dashed now. Saturday’s loss was Washington’s second of the season. The first came in the season’s opening game against Auburn. It was thought the Huskies could survive that loss and still potentially get into the CFP. It was a close 21-16 defeat in what was essentially a road game against one of the nation’s top programs, and it came early in the season. If Washington ran the table after that it would still be set up well for selection to the final four.
But that won’t happen now. Two-loss teams don’t make the final four, and even if they did it’s unlikely Washington would be the first choice, given the national perception that the Pac-12 is weak this year.
The season isn’t over yet. Despite the loss the Huskies still remain in first place in the Pac-12 North Division. Washington no longer controls its own destiny, as Oregon also has just one conference loss and now owns the tiebreaker against the Huskies. And Washington still has several difficult games on its schedule in the form of Colorado, Stanford and Washington State. But if the Huskies survive that gauntlet they still have an excellent chance at getting into the Pac-12 Football Championship Game and winning a conference title.
However, I imagine for some, given the expectations placed on the season, 2018 is already considered a lost cause.
So what do you think? Has this Washington season already been rendered a disappointment by two regular season losses? Or can the Huskies still turn this season into a success? Have your say here: