University of Washington

UW might have had its best Saturday of the season ... and the Huskies didn’t even play

Well, that was a fun Saturday.

All the post-conference championship game drama has the nation going back and forth about the College Football Playoff. It also has quite a few Washington fans checking out flight and hotel accommodations for a trip to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Numerous projections currently have UW (10-2) facing Penn State (10-2) in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Publications like Bleacher Report, Land of Ten, SB Nation and USA Today all have the Huskies in the Cotton. But don’t get too excited. CBS Sports has TCU going to the Cotton and projects UW will end up playing Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl. Although the Fort Worth Star-Telegram projects the Horned Frogs are destined for The Alamo Bowl.

UW will officially know its bowl destination around 9 a.m. Sunday during the CFP Selection Show, which will be aired on ESPN. The New Year’s Six games will be announced later in the show.

Exactly how did the Huskies get in contention for a New Year’s Six Bowl?

The talk started last week when UW captured a 41-14 win over No. 18 Washington State in The Apple Cup. It gave UW a 10-win season and a resume featuring two wins over Top 25 teams. UW grabbed a win earlier in the season over No. 25 Fresno State.

UW came in at No. 13 in the CFP Rankings going into championship week. The Huskies needed TCU and Stanford — two teams right above the Huskies in the CFP standings — to each lose their respective conference title games.

Mission accomplished. Stanford lost the Pac-12 Championship Game to USC on Friday. A day later, Oklahoma produced a 41-17 thumping against TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game at AT&T Stadium.

Stanford’s loss and TCU’s largesse defeat increased UW’s odds of reaching its second straight CFP semifinal and/or New Year’s Six bowl game. The Huskies reached the CFP semifinal last season and lost to Alabama in the Peach Bowl.

Hypothetically, the Huskies should leap frog Stanford and TCU in the rankings into 11th, which could see them grab an at-large bid entry into the Cotton Bowl.

No. 1 Clemson and No. 3 Oklahoma punched their tickets into the CFP semifinal with Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State likely battling for the final two spots.

The odd team out will likely head to a New Year’s Six game in a field that would consist of Auburn, Miami, Penn State, UCF, USC and Wisconsin.

And it could include Washington. Or will it be TCU?

Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark

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