Huskies looking for a strong finish regular season
UW coach Steve Sarkisian isn't worried about bowl positioning, he just wants a win after three straight losses.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Latest from the Husky Football & Basketball blogs
A year ago, the Washington Huskies needed an Apple Cup win to assure a bowl game.
This year, they are playing merely for pride, bragging rights and postseason positioning, after clinching a bowl berth when they beat Arizona in late October. UW hasn't won since, but their bowl spot is as secure as ever.
Unlike the early days of bowls, when there was much backroom jockeying, almost every bowl spot now is linked contractually to a conference.
The Pac-12 has seven contractual bowl agreements and only seven conference teams that can be bowl eligible (six or more wins or a .500 record) with USC on probation.
So the only question for UW is, where to? The answer is as cloudy as a Seattle November afternoon.
UW won't go to the top spot reserved for a Pac-12 team, the Rose Bowl.
But just about everything else remains theoretically in play.
After the champion goes to the Rose, bowls get to pick their choice of Pac-12 teams in this order:
• Alamo (San Antonio, Dec. 29), No. 2 choice vs. Big 12 No. 3.
• Holiday (San Diego. Dec. 28), Pac-12 No. 3 vs. Big 12 No. 5.
• Sun (El Paso, Dec. 31), Pac-12 No. 4 vs. ACC 4.
• Las Vegas (Dec. 22), Pac-12 No. 5 vs. Mountain West champ.
• Kraft Fight Hunger (San Francisco, Dec. 31), Pac-12 No. 6 vs. ACC No. 9 or WAC No. 4 or MAC No. 5.
• New Mexico (Albuquerque, Dec. 17), Pac-12 No. 7, vs. MWC No. 4 or 5.
Pac-12 bowl eligible teams are Oregon, Stanford, Washington, Arizona State, Cal and Utah. UCLA (6-5) could also be bowl eligible. However, if the Bruins qualify for the Pac-12 title game with a 6-6 regular season record, and lose that game, they would be ineligible for a bowl.
Oregon, if it beats Oregon State and then wins the Pac-12 title game would head to the Rose.
Stanford, which will be 11-1 if it beats Notre Dame, is the wild card. The Cardinal is currently No. 4 in the BCS, and will likely not drop if it beats the Irish.
That would pull everyone in the Pac-12 up a spot in the bowl picture. After the BCS, bowls get their choice of remaining eligible teams. The only rule is bowls cannot skip down to pick a team with a conference record two games worse. But things such as head-to-head outcome don't really matter.
The Alamo is thought still potentially interested in just about every other Pac-12 team that is bowl eligible and will have a representative at the Apple Cup as well as the Colorado-Utah and Cal-Arizona State games this weekend.
But the Huskies may be especially attractive to the Alamo if it wins Saturday. UW has a reputation for traveling well that was enhanced when it sold out its allotment of 11,000 tickets last year for the Holiday Bowl. The Alamo Bowl was close to taking Washington last year before deciding on Arizona
If the Alamo passes, the UW's most likely destinations if it wins the Apple Cup would be the Holiday or Sun.
A Husky loss in the Apple Cup would muddy the waters more and could send UW to Las Vegas. Few think the Huskies would fall beyond Vegas (Cal seems a natural for the Kraft Fight Hunger as it would essentially be a home game).
UW coach Steve Sarkisian said he isn't paying much attention to the bowl speculation and isn't using the idea of getting to a better bowl as motivation for his team this week.
"That's out of our hands, quite honestly," he said of the bowl talk. "I think more than anything we just want to finish strong. Obviously we were disappointed in the last few weeks of the season and how they have gone and our guys really want to finish well."
More important is simply going to a bowl. Teams get 15 extra practices, crucial for young players to continue to develop, and Sarkisian says the national television exposure helps recruiting.
"Ultimately it's just good for team morale, that's one of the carry-overs (to the next season) that you are in a hotel somewhere on Christmas Day," he said. "It's big that what these guys put in all the time and effort for, that there is some reward for that."
• UW practiced Thursday morning and players were then given the rest of the day off to spend Thanksgiving on their own. The team will reconvene Friday afternoon for a walk-through at CenturyLink Field.
• Sarkisian said true freshman safety/cornerback James Sample had shoulder surgery Wednesday morning and is out for the year. Sample has played in three games, most recently against Colorado. Sarkisian said the team will petition to get a redshirt year for Sample.
• Sarkisian said free safety Justin Glenn (concussion against Oregon State) is OK to play but fellow free safety Will Shamburger (stinger) will be a game-time decision. Nate Fellner played the second half at OSU after Glenn and Shamburger left.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or email@example.com. On Twitter @bcondotta.
|UW has a 6-3 record against WSU since the 1950s when entering the Apple Cup on a losing streak of 3 or more games.|
|1954||L6||WSU 26-7||Cougs hand UW their first 7-game losing streak|
|1955||L3||UW 27-7||UW's Credell Green runs for 258 yards over a muddy field.|
|1969||L10||UW 30-21||Husky win pushes Wazzu losing streak to nine games|
|1976||L3||UW 51-32||Jack Thompson 5 TDs passing not enough|
|1998||L3||UW 16-9||Win gives UW 22nd consecutive season at .500 or better|
|2004||L5||WSU 28-25||WSU (led 28-10) held on for first Apple Cup win since 1997|
|2006||L6||UW 35-32||The Cougs failed to win three straight Apple Cups for the first time|
|2008||L10||WSU 16-13, 2OT||WSU's Nico Grasu 28-yard FG ties game at end of regulation|
|2009||L4||UW 30-0||First shutout in series since three occurred in the 1960s|
|Pac-12 teams that have qualified for bowl games with at least six victories:|
|Stanford||10-1||vs. Notre Dame|
|Oregon||9-2||vs. Oregon State|
|Arizona State||6-5||vs. California|
|California||6-5||at Arizona State|
The Morning Memo
The Morning Memo jump starts your day with weather, traffic and news
The Seattle Times Historical Archives
Browse our newspaper page archives from 1900-1984
Career Center Blog
Sign up for our newsletter
Receive weekly recipes, cooking tips and news in your inbox!