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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Huskies coach Chris Petersen won’t add to rivalry with talk

Washington linebacker Psalm Wooching celebrates after he sacked Stanford quarterback Ryan Burns (not shown) in the first half of the Huskies win over the Cardinal. (Associated Press)
By Christian Caple Tacoma News Tribune

SEATTLE – If you missed Washington coach Chris Petersen’s Monday press conference, in which he was asked many times in many ways about the significance of the No. 5-ranked Huskies’ 4:30 p.m. Saturday game at rival Oregon, let us offer a paraphrased summation:

It’s only important because it’s the next game against a good team. It’s not about the opponent. The streak? We don’t talk about the streak.

“These guys have been giving everything they can possibly give,” Petersen said of his team, unbeaten through five games and ranked in the top five for the first time since 2000. “So we just need to stick to that and stay focused and not pay attention to all the stuff that doesn’t really matter.”

It might not matter to him, but Oregon’s 12-year winning streak over Washington certainly matters to a large portion of the Huskies fan base, many of whom expect this to be the year it finally ends.

The Huskies, three days removed from a 44-6 thumping of seventh-ranked Stanford, are favored by 8.5 points over the Ducks, who have lost three consecutive games for the first time since 2007 and suffered a 51-33 beating at Washington State on Saturday.

This is a most enjoyable scenario for many UW fans, who can finally approach a game against Oregon with a reasonable expectation of victory. It seems an irritating scenario for Petersen, a buttoned-up guy who bemoans preseason hype, scoffs at rankings and will never participate in rivalry-week banter.

He’s tightening the screws even more this week, making UW players off limits to media interviews until after Saturday’s game, a decision he said he made not because of this week’s opponent, but because UW’s players have “a lot on their plate” and “I figured you guys had enough to write about without having to talk to those guys.”

Well, maybe. Longtime Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood made it a little easier today, telling reporters in Eugene that yes, the week of the Washington game does feel a little different.

“It’s a big, big game,” Greatwood said, according to the Oregonian. “It’s a rivalry. We’ve had the upper hand and we intend to keep that for the next several years.”

Oh, also: “The streak’s not going to end.”

Don’t expect Petersen to return that volley.

Wooching honored

After totaling a career-best three sacks last week against Stanford, Huskies linebacker Psalm Wooching was voted the Pac-12’s defensive player of the week.

Wooching, a fifth-year senior from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, was also named the Walter Camp Football national defensive player of the week. He has 4.5 sacks this season, and is the first UW player this year to be voted Pac-12 player of the week.

Quick kicks

Oregon announced Monday that it will wear navy blue and yellow “Webfoots” uniforms (think Cal colors) for Saturday’s game, an homage to the Ducks’ 1916 nickname. … Washington has 15-to-2 odds to win the College Football Playoff championship, according to the sports betting website Bovada. Those are the fourth-best odds on the board, behind Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State. … Washington State announced on Monday that this year’s Apple Cup game, slated for Nov. 25 at Martin Stadium in Pullman, has sold out.