Keishawn Bierria has answered hundreds of questions. He’s one of Washington’s more polished personalities and is rarely at a loss for words.
He was somewhat speechless, albeit for a few seconds, on Friday.
Bierria and the Huskies (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) were barely 15 minutes removed from a 30-22 loss to Stanford (7-3, 6-2) at Stanford Stadium. UW’s players are typically relaxed in post-game settings but this time, they were somber.
UW entered the week with a shot at the College Football Playoff behind the No. 1 defense in the nation. All those details were soon memories. No two-loss team has ever reached the CFP and UW’s second loss was a death blow to their playoff hopes.
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Stanford attacked UW in a way no other team has this season. The Huskies had allowed three rushing touchdowns all year; Cardinal star running back Bryce Love had three touchdowns and a 120 yards.
Opponents were converting less than 31 percent of third downs against UW. Stanford dragged the game out by going 10 of 18 for 55.5 percent in those situations.
What’s the mood like in the Huskies locker room right now?
“The mood in that locker room,” Bierria said as he paused for a few seconds. “I would kinda say guys are upset with themselves. We know the standard of football we play to.
“We know how we compete against each other and that didn’t display tonight.”
Bierria said the team would return to Seattle and begin correcting its mistakes immediately starting Saturday.
UW’s CFP hopes are lost, but its season is not. “There’s still too much good football left to be played, ” Huskies coach Chris Petersen said
There is a chance the Huskies could return to the Bay Area to play in the Pac-12 Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
A few things would need to take place. First, the Huskies need Stanford to drop its last conference game against its bitter area rival, California. It could be a tall task given the Bears (5-5, 2-5) have been far from consistent.
Should Cal pull off the upset, it means UW would have to end the regular season with wins over Utah next week and Washington State in the Nov. 24 Apple Cup.
“We always feel like its on us,” Huskies senior center Coleman Shelton said. “We’re gonna go back, look at the tape and study and move on to the next week.”
The CFP was created in 2014 and several figures around college football said it was a better alternative than its predecessor, the Bowl Championship Series.
A playoff has proven to be a more popular method for determining a national champion than the BCS and its computer ranking system.
If there’s been a criticism, it’s come from coaches who feel the CFP has led to college football being devalued.
Those coaches say it creates a pass-or-fail environment and overlooks the successes achieved with either a two-or three-loss season.
“It’s just about one week. If we start looking about championships and all that, your focus isn’t right,” Petersen said. “If guys are doing that, that’s what happens. ... Too many good teams in this conference.”
Examine what Petersen has achieved in his past three seasons at UW. The Huskies went 7-6 in Petersen’s second year and won the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
In 2016, they went 12-2 and reached the CFP semifinal.
UW, even with two losses, could still have one of the best years in program history.
Should the Huskies win two more games, it would make Petersen only the fourth coach in school history to have at least two 10-win seasons.
He would join Enoch Bagshaw, Don James and Jim Owens. Bagshaw did it in 1923 and 1925. James, who guided UW to a national title in 1991, won 10 or more games five times. Owens did it twice in 1959 and 1960.
Plus, it would give UW its first back-to-back season of at least 10 wins since 1991 and 1992.
“We never talk about playoffs. ever. That’s not even a discussion. We just play,” Petersen said. “We got two more games and we’re focused on the next one. Two good teams coming and we’ll see what happens after this next week.”
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark