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Washington Huskies

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No CFP for Huskies this time around

Washington fancied a better end-of-the-season destination than the Fiesta Bowl.

Not that there is anything wrong with that major bowl game. It is just that the Huskies wanted to again be part of the College Football Playoff.

But the reality is that a matchup with Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl is the capper for this season, and coach Chris Petersen is aiming to make the best of it despite falling below expectations.

"We lose no sleep about that around here," Petersen said during a Sunday night teleconference. "We just try to do the best we can and at the end of the season we look where we are and say, 'where and who are we going to play?'"

The No. 11 Huskies will see a program in Penn State that possesses the same 10-2 record and is ranked two spots higher at No. 9.

The Nittany Lions happen to be pretty thrilled about their bowl destination.

"We're excited about playing in the Fiesta Bowl. It's going to be a great opportunity," Penn State coach James Franklin said on the same teleconference as Petersen. "It's going to be a great experience. And they are a very good football team and they're a very good program but that's what happens.

"You play a New Year's Six bowl game, you're going to play great opponents. We're excited about playing Washington. We're excited about playing the Pac-12, and it should be a tremendous challenge."

Washington sabotaged its CFP hopes with a dreadful loss at Arizona State and later had his chances stomped out by losing against Stanford.

Petersen said there are other factors involved and he pointed to the team's injury woes usually a topic he sidesteps with regularity.

"It's interesting, because so many of these injuries have been season-ending injuries," Petersen said. "I don't know exactly what we'll get back. Couple guys got dinged in the last game (against Washington State) and we might get those guys back.

"But, yeah, we're certainly proud of how the next man just stepped up and we still played pretty good. There wasn't a huge dropoff and we did lose some real firepower. We lost some firepower on the defensive side in the secondary and those kids stepped up and battled and didn't miss a beat."

Washington is still working on identifying a play-caller for the game after offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith was hired as Oregon State's coach.

This is just the third meeting between the Huskies and Penn State. The Nittany Lions won the previous two with the most recent meeting occurring in 1983.

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