Washington coaches discuss program's season opener against Auburn in Atlanta
The upcoming opening weekend of college football games don’t feature nearly as many highlights as last season, but that doesn’t mean the first stanza of the 2018 college football season isn’t lacking some punch.
Arguably the most anticipated showdown of Week 1 will be the contest in Atlanta between Auburn and Washington. The two programs are poised to be ranked in the top 15 of the preseason, if not top 10, and will meet on a “neutral field” in the latest Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Saturday, Sept. 1.
The Tigers finished last season ranked No. 10 in the AP Poll while Washington finished ranked No. 16.
According to Adam Jude of the Seattle Times, the Huskies already have Auburn on their minds. The way Washington head coach Chris Petersen tells it, the big opening season contest makes it easier to keep his team focused on the immediate task at hand this offseason.
“Our kids,” Petersen said, according to Jude, “they understand who Auburn is. … We’re talking about playing the best of the best right now. So our kids, they know that. I don’t have to say a word about that.”
While the Washington head coach may be downplaying his need to hype up his Huskie team, his defensive coordinator, Jimmy Lake, admits the program sees the opportunity it has to showcase what Pac-12 football is all about to a nationally-televised audience.
“Every game we want to win,” Lake said, “but this for sure is going to (attract) a lot more eyeballs. It’s going to be on a national scene against probably a top-five opponent, a team that beat both of the teams that were in the national championship last year. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us, and I know the guys are excited.
“This is why you come to Washington — to play big games like this.”