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The next obstacle for Washington’s Chris Petersen? Brand recognition

One interesting obstacle still lies ahead for Washington head coach Chris Petersen. (AP)

What’s the next hurdle for Chris Petersen to clear at UW?

According to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard, it isn’t securing a top recruit or getting back to a national championship – well, not neccesarily. It’s increasing brand recognition.

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In effort to determine how current potential college football players view the brands associated with the top programs in the country, a recent Pick Six Previews survey asked 240 current college football recruits to “grade their interest and desire” in playing for each Power 5 school.

Clemson topped the list of recognizable and desirable brands, followed by Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia, and Oregon. Three Pac-12 programs were in the Top 10 (Oregon at No. 5, USC at No. 6, and Stanford at No. 9). Washington was ranked fifth in the Pac-12, and came in at No. 23 in the country overall.

“To see Oregon there with Nike, to see USC with their tradition, to see Standford with their background and Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh and the academic nature (of that program), to see even UCLA ahead of the University of Washington there (was eye-opening),” Huard said during his Blue 42 segment of Brock and Salk. “And these aren’t some stodgy old guys; these are 224 current recruits that have just gone through the process and are ranking the different brands. And I think that’s somewhat legit. That’s the next big hurdle in the sales pitch: the brand recognition.”

There are a few interesting things to note about the survey.

First, Huard posited that because the survey was heavily influenced by recruiting, a prestigious program like Alabama, which came in at No. 19, might have ranked lower because they can spend less time recruiting and don’t have the same need to revamp their brand.

“They don’t recruit, they select,” Huard said.

Another interesting note was pointed out by the survey creators. A couple of the most recognized college brands haven’t had a dominant program or won a championship in decades (a list that includes Miami and Oregon) but what they do share is a “well-defined brand with a deliberate brand strategy.”

As an example, Pick Six Previews noted Oregon was one of the first programs to establish speed and tempo as a brand, and thanks to their ability to test some of the latest Nike gear, can regularly offer its athletes new, sharp and innovative uniforms.

Petersen has quite the obstacle to overcome in this regard, but Huard believes Washington’s head coach is more than capable.

“In years to come,” Huard said, “I hope to see that number climb a whole lot higher.”

Hear Huard’s entire Blue 42 segment here. In it, he also talks about Darrell Bevell’s potential future with the Eagles, and which Husky or Coug can help himself the most at the NFL Combine.