When you think of PAC-12 football in big time games against the SEC there are not too many fond memories that come to mind. No matter how good a PAC-12 team is, they just never seem to stack up to football powerhouses in the SEC. Coming into the game, the SEC was 72-42-5 against the PAC-12 in all time match-ups. That is not a pretty statistic for PAC-12 football fans.
On Saturday afternoon, the Washington Huskies had a golden opportunity to finally win a big game against a powerhouse SEC opponent. Washington, coming in as the #6 team in the nation, was taking on Auburn, the #9 team in the nation. It was a nationally televised game in the middle of the afternoon. People on the East Coast would actually be able to watch PAC-12 football at a reasonable hour! The stage was set for Washington to announce that PAC-12 football in 2018 is equal to the football that is being played in the SEC. However, things did not go according to plan for the Huskies.
From the opening kickoff, Auburn appeared to be in control of the game. They were able to move the ball on the ground and through the air with relative ease in the first half. The first two series were a Washington three and out, followed by an Auburn touchdown. The only saving grace for the Huskies is that Auburn could not convert in the red zone and had to settle for multiple field goals throughout the half. Otherwise, the game could have been over by halftime. However, the Huskies stayed composed and an effective two minute drill at the end of the half, led by Jake Browning, resulted in a Washington Touchdown and this beauty of a catch.
By some sort of luck, Washington was only down two starting the third quarter. Both defenses held firm in the third quarter, but the Huskies were able to get a field goal early into the fourth quarter to take a 16-15 lead. Their defense was playing great, and their offense was starting to move the ball, and it looked like just maybe Washington could pull this one out. However, with around six minutes remaining, Auburn’s Jatarvious Whitlow punched in the go ahead touchdown. Washington looked like they might be able to mount one final drive, but the drive fizzled out and Auburn was able to walk out of Atlanta with a win.
While Washington’s loss is not necessarily a bad loss, it hurts the PAC-12’s reputation. The PAC-12 is not respected nationally as a strong football conference because it continues to fall short in games like this. The conference has also fallen short recently in postseason play. After this loss, it will be difficult for a PAC-12 team to get into the playoffs for the second straight year. Unfortunately, Washington and the PAC-12 continue to fall short on the national stage.