Kyle Infante

Petersen needs to bring his Boise magic to Washington

Created on Aug. 06, 2014 7:05 PM EST

On New Year's Day 2007, the legacy of Boise State's football program and its head coach was born. Rookie head coach Chris Petersen helped lead Boise State to a 43-42 overtime victory over heavily-favored Oklahoma in what was one of the most thrilling college football games of all time.

For the next 7 seasons, Coach Petersen and Boise State became one of the most feared and respected non-BCS programs in Division 1-FBS. During his tenure, Boise's record was 92–12, which included two Fiesta Bowl victories, a 2010 Heisman Trophy candidate in Kellan Moore20 active NFL players and 2 NFL Pro Bowlers in Ryan Clady and Doug Martin.

But all good things must come to an end and new chapters in life begin. Coach Petersen accepted the position of Head Coach for the Washington football program on Dec. 5, 2013, which was only 3 days after former Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian departed for USC. Washington is not a mid-major program like Boise State was prior to 2007, but the Huskies are not by any means a national power. In a Pac-12 North crowded with talented programs, Washington has been on the short end of the stick for over 10 years. Washington has not won a National Championship since 1991, a Rose Bowl since 2001 and a conference championship since 2000 when it was known as the Pac-10.

Coach Petersen's biggest challenges prior to Washington were not usually in conference play. Now, Washington will at least have to win the Pac-12 North to even be considered for an at-large selection in the new college football playoff. What that means is Washington will have to go through Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State and in-state rival Washington State. But winning those games is only the start; t
he Huskies will then have to win the Pac-12 Championship, likely against UCLA or USC, in order to receive an automatic berth.

Despite the discouraging records and scenarios, Washington has a new coach that just knows how to win. Coach Petersen does have a relatively young team, just over 35 percent of the team are seniors and juniors. And the departure of senior quarterback Keith Price leaves the position under center wide open. But this is Chris Petersen we are talking about. If he can lead a bunch of unappreciated and undersized players passed Oklahoma with trick plays and a pro-style offense, he will be more than capable of bringing Washington back into the national spotlight and soon hoisting up a National Championship trophy.