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Mock or Real Thing, Huskies Say Bring on the College Football Playoffs

Husky Maven on FanNation logo Husky Maven on FanNation 3/22/2023 Dan Raley
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Kalen DeBoer says the postseason is what he's all about as a coach.

Mock college football playoffs that exist only in someone else's mind have always had a soft spot for the University of Washington football team. 

Playing off basketball's March Madness, ESPN's Chris Low this week drew up a 64-team football bracket and he creatively had Kalen DeBoer's Huskies nearly going the distance.

Spoiler alert: The UW doesn't win it all, but Michael Penix Jr. and Co. give it a strong run by beating Washington State, Mississippi State and Oregon before coming up just short in the semifinals to a college football blue blood in crimson uniforms, Alabama. You can read all about Low's daydream here.

Back in 1984, with realignment talk beginning to ratchet up, the now-defunct Sport Magazine made a big deal of showing what a 32-team playoff might look like. Amazingly, it favored Don James' Huskies, having them beating Florida by a touchdown in the national championship game.

In real time, college football will live with a four-team playoff for one more season before finally, almost reluctantly, giving in to a new 12-team format for 2024.

The Huskies, with DeBoer at the helm, seem well positioned to be part of the proceedings at some point in time. For one, they will have the right mindset, with this fast-rising coach famously declaring at the outset of his first season in Montlake that he only plays for championships — and then he coached the UW to an 11-2 record.

DeBoer is the same guy who as a head coach in his first job at his alma mater had his way with the NAIA playoffs, directing Sioux Falls to national titles in 2006, 2008 and 2009, a runner-up finish in 2007 and a semifinal appearance in 2005, running up a pristine 67-3 record.

"I love being a part of playoff football and I feel like that's a big part of kind of the mindset that kind of developed who I am," he said before opening spring practice. "It's anyone's game. I love being part of a win-or-go-home situation."

Even with USC and UCLA jumping ship for the Big Ten, DeBoer expressed confidence that UW football will carry on with enough weight to flourish no matter where it ends up, whether in the Pac-12 or in some future realignment.

"Where our program continues to go, I think there are a lot of reasons people would want us in their conference," he said. "We're going to end up in a good spot no matter what this looks like."

He noted how the latest rounds of conference realignment came before college football approved the 12-team playoff, intimating that maybe some of those changes might not have happened had everyone known that postseason change was coming when it did.

Either way, DeBoer likes where the Huskies, who have a lone CFP appearance in 2016 against Alabama, currently sit in regards to the playoffs.

"For us, one of our goals that we're going to have is to win a national championship," he said, "and our percentages go up as they expand to 12 teams."


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