College Football Playoff projections heading into Week 11. If the season ended today, Washington would be back to national prominence in a semifinal game against Alabama.
Semifinal No. 1 – Fiesta Bowl
Date: Dec. 31
Location: Glendale, Arizona
Tie-ins: CFP No. 2/CFP No. 3
Fiesta Bowl Projection: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Clemson
In their easy win over Maryland on Saturday, the Wolverines were able to get receiver Jehu Chesson more involved in the offense, as he matched a season high with five receptions and had a season-high 112 yards receiving. De’Veon Smith added a season-high 114 yards and a career-high three scores on the ground, as Jim Harbaugh’s squad continued its march toward its regular season finale against Ohio State, which many believe will essentially be for a CFP berth.
Meanwhile, Dabo Swinney’s Tigers held Syracuse to 277 yards of offense, including just 172 yards through the air, in their shutout win over the Orange last week. The Tigers withstood the loss of star quarterback Deshaun Watson, who suffered a bruised right shoulder and was held out in the second half for precautionary reasons. Swinney said he does not envision the injury preventing Watson from facing Pitt with a chance to clinch the ACC Atlantic division, though. Assuming the division is won and the Tigers enter the league title game undefeated, they will face a challenge from the Coastal division champ. But this is still a team that is capable of competing with anyone in the country if it has its “A” game.
Semifinal No. 2 – Peach Bowl
Date: Dec. 31
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Tie-ins: CFP No. 1/CFP No. 4
Peach Bowl Projection: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Washington
LSU put up a strong fight in front of its home fans in Baton Rouge last Saturday night, but Nick Saban’s squad was able to escape with the win and remain unbeaten because of its stifling defense. Tigers quarterback Danny Etling didn’t show great poise, although he wasn’t helped by his blockers as ‘Bama won the line of scrimmage battle. Leonard Fournette and the rushing attack was held in check, and a lot of that had to do with the fact that the Bayou Bengals could not put together any semblance of a passing attack against the Tide. ‘Bama is the best team in the nation, and it looks as if Auburn will be the biggest remaining test because the SEC East champ in the league title game will be a heavy underdog against the Tide if they win the West.
Meanwhile, Jake Browning had another big day in Washington’s 66-27 win over Cal last week. He threw for 378 yards and six touchdowns to set the school’s single-season record for touchdown passes, and once again John Ross was his favorite target. Ross had 208 receiving yards and three scores, while Dante Pettis caught three touchdown passes and threw another. It was the Huskies’ 12th straight win, and Chris Petersen’s squad should move up in the next College Football Playoff rankings.