The Washington Huskies, ranked No. 11 in the season’s final College Football Playoff rankings released Sunday morning, earned an at-large bid to the Fiesta Bowl where they will play No. 9 Penn State.
The Fiesta Bowl is set for a 2 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, Dec. 30 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
This will be UW’s first trip to the Fiesta Bowl.
UW coach Chris Petersen brought Boise State to the Fiesta Bowl twice (after the 2006 and 2009 seasons), winning both times, including a stunning upset of Oklahoma 11 years ago.
Against Penn State, the Huskies will face of the nation’s most touted running backs in Saquon Barkley, who has rushed for 1,134 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The Huskies enter the bowl game with the nation’s No. 1 rushing defense, allowing 92.3 yards per game and 2.63 yards per rush.
No. 8 USC, which defeated Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game on Friday night, will play No. 5 Ohio State in the Dec. 29 Cotton Bowl.
The Huskies initially appeared to be headed to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl, but because Ohio State has played in the Fiesta Bowl the past two years the Fiesta and Cotton swapped matchups. That could be a nice change for UW fans, who are more likely to travel to the closer bowl destination in Arizona.
Hamdan returns to UW
Washington has moved quickly to fill its opening for offensive coordinator, hiring Bush Hamdan, the quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Falcons.
Washington announced the hiring Sunday, though Hamdan won’t take over his new role until the NFL season is over.
He replaces Jonathan Smith, who was named head coach at Oregon State earlier this week.
Hamdan spent the 2015-16 seasons on Washington’s coaching staff before leaving for the NFL. His final role with Washington was wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator.
He also worked at Davidson, Arkansas State, Florida, Sacramento State, Maryland and Colorado. Hamdan played for Washington coach Chris Petersen at Boise State between 2006-08.