The Washington Huskies dropped their opening day game to Auburn. Matt Barry has three takeaways from the game and what it means for Washington Football’s championship hopes in 2018.
Is it really a neutral site game if one team is 2,600 miles away and the other is an hour and a half drive from the stadium? The Auburn Tigers took advantage of a partisan crowd and beat the Washington Huskies in a hard-fought battle 21-16, in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff. Here are three takeaways from a very important season opener for both teams.
1. Early Season Marquee Matchups Are Hard On Teams
The new playoff system now includes four teams, which helps if a team loses an early season game. But the loser of this matchup still has a tougher road to a playoff. The ESPN playoff predictor showed an interesting graphic at the beginning of the game. Washington had a 54 percent chance to make the playoffs with a win. Auburn’s chances were 25 percent. However, a loss threw a serious wrench into postseason plans. Washington’s dream of a National Championship dropped to 28 percent with this loss. Auburn survived a drop to 9 percent.
The game was even more difficult for Washington, who traveled across the country and had to deal with a loud Auburn following. For a season opener, the game had the feeling of a bowl game and both teams played hard.
Now the pressure will be on Washington, who play their home opener against North Dakota next week before heading to Utah the week after for the beginning of the PAC-12 season. The win was big for Auburn as they travel to both #3 Georgia and #1 Alabama later in the season.