The Pac-12 champion will earn an automatic berth to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl against a Big Ten opponent on New Year’s Day. The Huskies play Utah for the conference crown Friday at Levi's Stadium.
They proved once again that they own the state of Washington.
Now the Huskies hope to spend their final two games of the season showing out in California.
The No. 16 Huskies claimed their second Pac-12 North title in three seasons with a 28-15 victory over No. 7 Washington State on Friday in Pullman. It was UW’s sixth straight Apple Cup victory, and it earned them a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against Utah.
“This is special,” UW senior linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven said. “It’s a testament to all the guys who have been here for all this time and the effort and the passion these guys play with.”
Kickoff at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., is set for 5 p.m. Friday for a FOX national broadcast.
The Pac-12 champion will earn an automatic berth to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl against a Big Ten opponent on New Year’s Day.
“If feels pretty good,” senior QB Jake Browning said. “I’m pretty focused on this Pac-12 championship … but I think everyone on the West Coast wants to play in the Rose Bowl. We obviously know what’s at stake, but we’re not looking ahead.”
Washington (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12) hasn’t been to the Rose Bowl since the 2000 season. After a stunning 12-10 loss at California on Oct. 27, the Huskies won their three November games to get back to the conference title game.
“That’s what the Pac-12 is now,” Browning said. “The margin for error is so little (in the Pac-12) because there’s not one team has so much better talent than everyone else, like a lot of conferences. Sometimes you’re going to get beat. You’ve got to keep rallying and stay positive, and we’ve been able to do that. Now we’ve got another one to finish off this (season) the way we want to.”
Two years ago, the Huskies made their first appearance in the Pac-12 title game and defeated Colorado, 41-10, and earn the program’s first berth to the College Football Playoff.
With three losses, the Huskies won’t get back to the playoff this year.
But the Rose Bowl remains an allure for many.
“Obviously, we would love to be playing for the national championship,” Burr-Kirven said. “But the Rose Bowl, that’s the the bowl game everyone knows about. If we can go and handle business next week and win a Pac-12 championship and go down to Pasadena, that would be pretty special.”