The selection committee came out with the initial College Football Playoff rankings this afternoon and the Huskies are currently 5th. That matches their current placement in both the Coaches and AP Poll.
#Pac12 in initial CFP rankings:— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) October 31, 2023
- Five teams in initial 2022 rankings
- Six teams in final 2022 rankings
There are 5 remaining undefeated teams among the major conferences and Washington’s placement shows that they currently are bringing up the rear in the eyes of the committee. The Huskies have the best win of any of those teams (home over #6 Oregon) but the lack of strength of schedule outside of that game plus some recent close wins over bad teams has hurt Washington’s chances of starting out in the top-4.
However, the Huskies have the chance to make major strides in the eyes of the committee. Their next 3 games are at #20 USC, home against #18 Utah, and at #16 Oregon State who are all ranked in the top-25. If Washington comes out of that stretch remaining undefeated then they will certainly pass some teams.
Florida State is at highest risk of being passed as they have no more games remaining among ranked teams. In fact, the only team on their entire schedule who is still ranked is LSU who they beat all the way back in week one.
Ohio State has two very good wins right now at Notre Dame and versus Penn State but doesn’t play a ranked team in the next 3 weeks. Michigan has yet to play a ranked team but has bludgeoned everyone they’ve faced and will get to play at Penn State in a few weeks as their first real test. Of course, Michigan and Ohio State play in the final week of the season so one of them is guaranteed to take another loss and only one will get to play for their conference championship.
Georgia has the toughest remaining road with games against Missouri, Ole Miss, and Tennessee. But it seems likely they won’t play a team that finishes in the top-ten until potentially an SEC championship showdown with Alabama or LSU.
Washington was also ranked 5th in the initial CFP rankings back in 2016, the only year they qualified for the event. Back then the Huskies started out behind undefeated Alabama, Clemson, and Michigan as well as a 1-loss Texas A&M team. Alabama ended up the only undefeated team by the end of the conference championship games and eventually ended Washington’s season. Clemson and Ohio State finished with 1 loss each and took the other 2 spots that year.
The job for Washington is simple: just keep winning. Even if the wins continue to be close and/or ugly, an undefeated Husky team will make the playoff. A 1-loss Washington team that wins a rematch over Oregon in the Pac-12 title game also almost certainly gets in. But a 2nd loss anywhere on the schedule or a loss in the conference championship game likely ends any of those dreams.
Go Dawgs, beat USC.