The Washington football team is 4-0. The USC football team is 4-0. Washington is ranked No. 6 in the country. USC is ranked No. 5. At no point this season have the Huskies been ranked higher than the Trojans, which opened the year at No. 4 while the Huskies opened at No. 8.
And yet, despite identical records and the fact that Washington has yet to be ranked higher than USC since week 15 of 2016, the Huskies have leaped USC in USAToday’s bowl projections, given the nod as the Pac-12’s lone representative in the College Football Playoff.
As USAToday sees it, Washington will play Alabama, Oklahoma will play Clemson, and the Big10 will be nudged aside. USC, meanwhile, slid to the Fiesta Bowl for a hypothetical matchup with San Diego State.
Agree or disagree with USAToday, but there is an argument to be made for the Huskies over the Trojans. Washington has yet to have a game come within two touchdowns, including a road tilt with Colorado, the Pac-12 South’s Cinderella representative in last year’s conference championship. Just as the Huskies did the in Pac-12 title game, they dismantled the Buffs thoroughly, winning 37-10 as Myles Gaskin logged his first career 200-plus-yard game.
USC has but one dominant win to its name this season, a Week 2, 42-24 pounding over Stanford. The Trojans allowed 31 points in a season-opening win over Western Michigan, needed two overtimes and a pair of clutch kicks from a walk-on kicker to beat Texas at home, and went into the fourth quarter tied with Cal in what eventually became a 30-20 win.
A win is a win, regardless, but in the eyes of subjective voters such as the playoff committee, some wins look better than others. In the eyes of USAToday, Washington’s four wins pass the eye test a bit more than USC’s.
In Week 5, the Trojans have an opportunity to log an impressive victory at No. 16 Washington State. Washington is not scheduled to face a ranked opponent until Nov. 18 when it hosts Utah.
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