Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. throws against Oregon during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Three Takeaways From Washington’s Victory over Oregon’s in the PAC-12 Championship

In the last game ever between two PAC-12 teams, No. 3 Washington defeated No. 5 Oregon in a 34-31 thriller Friday night, winning the PAC-12 Championship

In Friday’s game, college football fans learned at least one of the four teams that will make it to the College Football Playoff, the Heisman winner and what it takes for the other teams who need to make it to the CFP.

Washington Solidified Their Spot

There are few times when a team is a 9.5-point underdog while being the higher-ranked team and have already beaten the team they are facing in the season. But that is what oddsmakers choose for the PAC-12 Championship. Critics of Washington argued that the Huskies turned off the gas in the second half of the season while Oregon was continually dominating teams. But that was a completely different story Friday.

Washington’s running game, toughness from the offensive line and defense were the unsung heroes for the Huskies. Washington running back Dillon Johnson ran for 5.4 yards per carry. He did this on 28 attempts while running it in for two scores. Although Johnson did not have the “home run” play where he would usually take it 85 yards for a long run.

The offensive line was the more physical group that created gaps for Johnson for constant 10+ yard runs. On defense, while they did allow the Ducks to score 31 points, the Huskies held Oregon to three three-and-outs. Two of which were Oregon’s first two drives of the game. The Washington defense also forced a Bo Nix interception two plays after, Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr, threw a pick to the Ducks.

Washington never lost momentum in this game and is most likely the first team that will make it to the College Football Playoff.

Jayden Daniels is the Heisman Winner for 2023 Season

Any actual shot Bo Nix had at winning the Heisman Trophy is long gone. While Nix did not have a bad game, he left multiple opportunities on the field. If Oregon did take advantage of any of the opportunities the Huskies offer them, Nix would maybe have a chance at the Heisman.

It will be hard to argue for Nix after Oregon’s offense could not gain a first down after their first two possessions. As well as squandering an opportunity where the Duck defense gave Nix the ball at midfield in a 20-17 ballgame where they trailed by three.

With two minutes left in the game, Nix threw a 63-yard touchdown to Traeshon Holden that made it a three-point game. Oregon had all three timeouts and if the defense stopped the Huskies, they could realistically have the ball with at least 90 seconds left. Washington had multiple first downs and the game was a wrap. Now, if the defense did give Nix a chance to win or tie the game, this discussion is completely different. Ultimately, LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels is now the overwhelming Heisman favorite as of Saturday morning.

What FSU, Texas, Alabama and Ohio State Need Now

Now that Washington is in and Oregon is out, what’s next? Georgia and Michigan control their destiny and if they win, they are in. But for the four teams who do not control their destiny things can get tricky.

FSU does not control their destiny even if they beat Louisville in the ACC Championship. Why? If Alabama miraculously beats Georgia on Saturday, things could get interesting. If Alabama, Michigan, Washington and Florida State all win their conference. Would a one-loss Georgia team or a one-loss SEC champion Alabama team both get in over an undefeated FSU team? It is devasting that quarterback Jordan Travis got injured and the committee will disadvantage FSU due to the injury. But all FSU needs to do is win and Georgia to beat Alabama.

Texas needs two things, blow out Oklahoma State and have FSU lose. The reason they would need a non-competitive win against Oklahoma State is that if they struggle to put away an inferior OSU team, the committee would look away from Texas.

Alabama needs to beat Georgia and have Texas and FSU lose. FSU could be on their third-string quarterback. While the Big 12 Championship has always been a wild ride in the past couple of years. It is not impossible to see Alabama be in the final four.

Despite not playing in a conference game, Ohio State is not out yet. The Buckeyes need Georgia and Michigan to win. And with the last spot remaining, they would need Florida State to lose to Louisville and Texas to lose to Oklahoma State. Ohio State could get in by default. They would have more wins against AP opponents than the only other one-loss team in this scenario, which is Florida State. While the rest of the competition would have two losses.

About Nick VanZandt

Nick VanZandt is a senior journalism student at the University of Florida and this is his third semester working for WRUF.

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