Why aren’t No. 5 UW Huskies in the top 4 of CFP rankings?

Nov 15, 2023, 1:15 PM | Updated: 3:10 pm

UW Huskies Tuli Letuligasenoa...

Tuli Letuligasenoa of the UW Huskies celebrates a safety against Utah on Nov. 11, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The UW Huskies are still undefeated, and they have perhaps the best win this season of any of the five remaining college football teams without a loss. And yet they’re still on the outside of the College Football Playoff picture.

How can UW Huskies keep coach Kalen DeBoer as jobs open up?

The newest CFP rankings were released Tuesday night, and like the previous two to come out so far this year, Washington figures in as the No. 5 team in the country. With the CFP itself featuring only four teams this season (it will switch to a 12-team format in 2024), that leaves the Huskies with no room for error.

Is it unfair to the 10-0 Dawgs? After all, they own a win over No. 6 Oregon, which is a higher ranked opponent than any of the teams in the top four have beaten in 2023.

“It’s the best thing that could happen to the Huskies, honestly,” Mike Salk said on Wednesday’s edition of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. “I know that there’s a frustration, and certainly if they lose a game they’re probably not going to find their way into the College Football Playoff just based on what the committee is saying. But this does give them the opportunity to play the disrespect card, which is valuable. And even more so, it allows them to avoid any of the pressure that comes with being in the top four. So I understand it, it’s frustrating, I would be a little annoyed as well, but also isn’t that sort of the upside here?”

Salk’s co-host, FOX college football broadcaster Brock Huard, isn’t quite on the same page.

“I disagree with a bunch of that, and in particular the very last sentiment there,” responded Huard, who played quarterback for the UW Huskies in the 1990s. “The pressure is already there, the target is enormous. You’re in a place (at 10-0) that’s happened one other time in the history of the program. So the pressure is real regardless of what this committee says.”

When it comes to Washington not getting enough respect, Huard is more concerned about the fact that the Huskies go into a huge game at No. 11 Oregon State on Saturday as the underdogs.

“When you get down to it here, you’re actually an underdog (Saturday). To me, of anything in the news this week, that’s the biggest disrespect – you guys are undefeated, top five, and you’re an underdog going into this place.”

Frustrations aside, what is the real reason the CFP committee doesn’t have Washington ranked in the top four, and behind No. 4 Florida State in particular?

“They’ve got a lot of numbers and some of those are not favorable, especially to the Husky defense over the last month or so this season,” Huard said. “… Some of this is the statistics they want to land on, and some of it is also the perception. It’s just the perception that (Florida State) beat LSU and they beat Miami, and there’s still this, ‘Yeah, we know you’re really good out West,’ but how many (CFP committee members) also stay up and watch everything? Late-night kickoffs and everything that goes on on the West Coast?”

Salk then pointed back to the one thing that should be the Huskies’ trump card.

“To me, the biggest frustration should be, look, you think Oregon is the No. 6 team and we beat them. That’s the best win anybody has this year, and we’re undefeated – what’s the problem?” he said.

Huard then brought up that the week after beating Oregon, Washington struggled in a win over a 3-7 Arizona State team.

“It’s a one-score game against ASU where you didn’t score a touchdown, right? I mean, this is why every single week does matter,” Huard said.

The one saving grace for the Huskies is that in less than two weeks, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan will play each other, meaning there will be at least one undefeated team by then.

“You want to just keep winning and winning and it will take care of itself,” Huard said. “To (Salk’s) point, if you go 13-0, you will be in.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk discussion in the middle segment of the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

More on the UW Huskies

Huard: How No. 5 UW Huskies are having their best season since ’91
Judge gives OSU, WSU full control of Pac-12 and millions in assets
Huard on Huskies: Why a win over No. 10 Oregon St would be huge
AP Top 25: UW Huskies’ next big game just got bigger
Caple’s Takeaways: UW Huskies now 10-0 after 35-28 win over Utah

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Why aren’t No. 5 UW Huskies in the top 4 of CFP rankings?