Under-Dawgs: UW Huskies a CFP lock after ‘upset’ Pac-12 title win

Dec 1, 2023, 8:44 PM | Updated: 11:09 pm

UW Huskies CFP Pac-12 Championship Jabbar Muhammad...

UW Huskies DB Jabbar Muhammad after breaking up a pass in the Pac-12 Championship vs. Oregon. (Ian Maule/Getty Images)

(Ian Maule/Getty Images)

Going into Friday’s Pac-12 Championship, the UW Huskies were the No. 3 team in the CFP rankings, owned a perfect 12-0 record on the season, and already had a win under their belt against their opponent.

About the only thing the Huskies didn’t have in their favor was, curiously, the odds. Somehow, despite the Huskies’ strong résumé as one of four undefeated teams in the country, No. 5 Oregon entered the conference title game as the favorite by nearly 10 points.

Well, maybe that was actually just one more thing in the Huskies’ favor, who played with a chip on their shoulder for a shocking (apparently) 34-31 win over the Ducks at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Pac-12 Championship – UW Huskies 34, Oregon 31: Recap | Box score

Just call them the Under-Dawgs – only after you call them the Pac-12 champions and a virtual lock for the College Football Playoff, of course.

It’s a truly monumental win for Washington, not only delivering the Huskies’ first Pac-12 title since 2018 but all but guaranteeing that coach Kalen DeBoer’s squad will be included in the four-team College Football Playoff that will determine the national championship. The new CFP rankings will be announced Sunday, setting the teams that will play in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, which will serve as the semifinal games on Monday, Jan. 1.

More: Caple’s Takeaways – UW Huskies are Pac-12 champs, CFP-bound

UW’s expected inclusion in the CFP will make them the first Pac-12 team in the playoff since the Huskies made it in 2016 under then head coach Chris Petersen. It will also be the last time a Pac-12 team makes the CFP, as the conference will lose 10 programs after this school year, including both Washington and Oregon to the Big 10.

The 13-0 Huskies, who now get the distinction of being the final Pac-12 champions, already made history this season by becoming the only team to go unbeaten through Pac-12 play since the conference expanded to 12 teams in 2011.

How it went down

For a more detailed breakdown of the Pac-12 Championship, click here to read the recap article, and watch a full reel of highlights from the game in the video below.

Washington showed up Friday with something to prove, stunning the Ducks by jumping out to a 17-3 lead. Not that it continued to be easy. Oregon scored its first touchdown just before halftime, which started a run of 21 straight points by the Ducks to take over the lead 24-21 late in the third quarter.

The Huskies punched back in the fourth quarter in a big way. They first took back the lead, then after forcing Oregon to punt strung together a 12-play, 82-yard scoring drive that took 6:20 off the clock, putting the Dawgs ahead 34-24 with just 2:44 to go.

And yet the Ducks reacted quickly, as two plays later they were in the end zone on a 63-yard touchdown pass from Bo Nix to Traeshon Holden, cutting UW’s lead back to just three points with 2:14 on the clock.

Oregon’s onside kick attempt went out of bounds, and Heisman Trophy candidate Michael Penix Jr. completed a huge third down pass to Jalen McMillian just inside of the final two minutes to give the UW Huskies a fresh set of downs and keep the clock running with Oregon down to just one timeout left. Washington faced one last big third down, and running back Dillon Johnson took care of it, running 18 yards on third-and-9 to clinch Washington’s huge victory.

Instant Reaction

Read below what some of the hosts and writers of Seattle Sports had to say on social media about the Huskies’ big win (and try to guess which ones are UW alums – hint: all but one).

UW Huskies and the CFP: What to watch Saturday

Before the final CFP rankings are set, there are four conference championship games on Saturday that could have an impact on the UW Huskies and their CFP selection. Here’s a breakdown of when and where you can watch each of those contests.

Big 12 Championship

No. 7 Texas (11-1) vs. No. 18 Oklahoma State (9-3)

Time: 9 a.m.
Site: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
(Note: Only a small chance of impacting CFP)

SEC Championship

No. 1 Georgia (12-0) vs. No. 8 Alabama (11-1)

Time: 1 p.m.
Site: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta)

ACC Championship

No. 4 Florida State (12-0) vs. No. 14 Louisville (10-2)

Time: 5 p.m.
Site: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, N.C.)

Big 10 Championship

No. 2 Michigan (12-0) vs No. 16 Iowa (10-2)

Time: 5 p.m.
Site: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)

Rost: Could No. 3 UW Huskies and No. 5 Oregon both make CFP?

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