I know, I know. About a dozen of you saw the headline and immediately began drafting a sternly-worded email. I welcome those emails, just send them to my work address, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can include all the Russian spybots and links to virus-infested malware you want, I can take it. Again, email@example.com.
The third installment of the College Football Playoff is here, and like any good Part III it comes with grumbling and disappointment, with cries of, “What could we have done to make this better?”; “I’m not really sure I want to watch it.”; and “Why is Sofia Coppola doing that thing with her face every 45 seconds?”
Oregon fans, mired in our first bowlless season since Twitter was invented and currently without a head coach, quickly took up arms against our archrivals from Washington.
And while I too would get some measure of schadenfreude from Alabama holding Washington’s face in the toilet for four hours, I’m taking a different path to happiness this January: I’m rooting for Washington to win the College Football Playoff. Let me tell you all the reasons why.
- Even if the Huskies lose, they still win. In all likelihood, Alabama will suffocate Washington like a boa constrictor. But why should this make Oregon fans happy? Husky fans know they face long odds against maybe the best college football team any of us has ever seen, and there’s no shame in losing to a team of that caliber. The outcome of the College Football Playoff doesn’t change the fact that Oregon football is a hot bag of garbage right now, and Washington dropped a 70-spot on the Ducks a couple months ago. No matter the outcome of the Bama-UW game, Washington still had a damn excellent season, and Oregon did the exact opposite. Rooting for Washington to fail is a pointless gesture, as they’ve already succeeded.
- Washington is a heavy underdog. Alabama is a two-touchdown favorite in this one, and that doesn’t feel outlandish or unreasonable, even for a national semifinal. Washington bullied the hell out of Oregon this year, but is it really going to be that satisfying to watch the bully get beat up by a bigger bully with a Southern accent? Maybe a little. But would it be more fun than Washington improbably winning the national title, and then screwing up its title defense next year as Willie Taggart notches his first signature win as Oregon’s head coach? Heck no.
- I’m so sick of Alabama, and it makes me happy when they lose a game they shouldn’t. I distinctly recall sitting in a hotel room in Southern California, basking in the glory of Oregon 59-Florida State 20, and feeling so giggly when Alabama biffed it against an Ohio State team starting its third string quarterback. In hindsight, this wasn’t as funny as I thought. But in the moment, it was excellent. Can you imagine what it would be like if this Alabama juggernaut laid an egg against this no-talent Pac-12 team who played a soft schedule and only snuck in because of the Playoff Committee’s biases against Michigan and Oklahoma? It’d be hilarious. Washington gets bonus points if they could beat Alabama AND Ohio State, because I’m as sick of the Buckeyes as I am of the Tide.
- The Pac-12 was underrated this year, and deserves to be validated. If USC played Clemson or Ohio State right now, I think they beat either of them. 2016 Colorado is magical, and should have gotten the Rose Bowl. Washington State and Utah are two excellent teams who lost very dumb games to inferior teams (Eastern Washington, Cal, and Oregon to be exact. I’ll let you pick which team of those three is the worst SPOILER ALERT IT’S OREGON). Stanford is Stanford: beefy, boring, and difficult to beat. Oregon, for all its faults, lost to Nebraska and Colorado by a combined 6 points; toss in the Cal game and they were 9 points short of a 7-5 season. Every team in the conference - except for maybe Arizona - is, even on its worst day, obnoxious and a pain in the ass to beat in football. A Washington national title would cause the national media to rethink the Pac-12 and realize, like we do, that this conference is actually frightening to play.
- The aftereffects of a Washington championship bode well for Oregon. Remember what happened after Washington’s last national championship? The Huskies lost 17 of the next 24 games in the UW-UO rivalry. Kenny Wheaton scored, Tyrone Willingham and Steve Sarkisian broke things, and it was fun to be an Oregon fan for a long, long time. If it happened once, it can happen again, right?
- It would just make sense in this hellfire of a football season. Search your feelings, you know it to be true. The 2016 season has been Oregon and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Football Season, where everything goes wrong because of course it does. The defense was bad, the transfer quarterback gave away games with awful interceptions and missed throws, the uniforms were stupid, we went 0-3 against the Pacific Northwest and finished last in the Pac-12 North, we fired a head coach that really didn’t deserve to get fired, and we’re about to hire someone dumb like Greg Schiano or Bryan Harsin. All signs on this not-up-to-code carnival ride point to Washington making a magical run through the playoffs and capturing another national championship. It almost makes too much sense.
- Because who cares, we’re all just waiting around to die anyway. All life is meaningless, and so is college football.
I’m not asking you to join me in this. For many of you, all that’s important is that Washington - and really, you mean Washington fans - don’t get to have anything nice. I respect that stance, and look forward to seeing you gleefully Tweet out #RollTide for the next month. As for me, I won’t be wearing purple, barking, or putting together Ronnie Fouch highlight videos or anything. But I will be rooting for Washington to win the College Football Playoff. I will now turn off my computer before any of you find my GPS location and call the cops to report a meth lab at my apartment.
There isn’t a meth lab at my apartment. I promise.