Washington-Oregon Is Chris Petersen’s Opportunity To Make A Statement

    The Washington-Oregon game presents an opportunity for Chris Petersen to make a statement in his second year with a win over the Ducks.

    October 14, 2015


    Chris Petersen hasn’t exactly dazzled in his first year-and-a-half at Washington, managing an 8-6 record in his opening campaign with a roster that featured three first-round NFL Draft picks.

    Many among the Husky faithful have been concerned that Petersen’s disciplinarian approach would not translate to a Power Five school like Washington. But if the last week has taught us anything, we learned that Petersen just might know what he’s doing – as should be expected of a coach who comes to a program after going 92-12 in his previous job.

    The departure of Steve Sarkisian to USC left Washington fans upset over losing a coach who dug the program out of the depths of an 0-12 season in 2008 and turned the Huskies into a consistent bowl-bound team. But when the clock struck zero at the L.A. Coliseum last Thursday, there was a clear contrast between Petersen – a coach who is finally starting to get his program running his way – and Sarkisian – whose personal demons have derailed USC’s season and his career for the foreseeable future.

    This week Washington will face Oregon, a bitter border rival which has beaten the Huskies eleven consecutive times. It doesn’t matter to Washington fans that Oregon has lost three games – the most since 2009 – halfway through the season, or that the Ducks are unranked. All that matters is a win.

    When Petersen was hired, he was asked at his introductory press conference, “Coach, are you going to beat Oregon?” Some members of the local press extolled Petersen’s experience in beating the Ducks while at Boise State.

    Over the last 11 years, Washington fans have had to watch as a program that once had a little brother complex to the Huskies ran up scoreboards, went for two when it didn’t matter, and unveiled 16,000 different new uniform combinations.

    But with Petersen settling in with Washington in his second season, and Oregon struggling to find itself in Mark Helfrich’s third year, feeling around the UW football program is that now is the chance to finally beat the Ducks. Even Vegas has the Huskies favored over Oregon — perhaps an overreach given the nature of this rivalry for the past decade.

    This Saturday’s game will tell a lot about whether Petersen is the coach they hoped he’d be.

    MORE: Washington Bowl Projections On The Rise

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