While No. 5 Washington maintains pursuit of a College Football Playoff spot, keeping coach Kalen DeBoer in Seattle has become a hot topic.
The coach who is 21-2 in less than two seasons with the Huskies will try to lead Washington to its 18th consecutive victory when it faces No. 11 Oregon State in Pac-12 play on Saturday night at Corvallis, Ore.
If Washington (10-0, 7-0 Pac-12) defeats the Beavers (8-2, 5-2), it will clinch at spot in next month’s Pac-12 title game.
As for DeBoer, his name is one of the hottest in college football after the quick revival of the Washington program.
He received a $1 million raise to $4.2 million 12 months ago, but his contract that runs through the 2028 season will need massive reworking to lift him into the upper echelon of coaching salaries.
DeBoer insists he wants to stay put and he also offered that new athletic director Troy Dannen has made overtures about sweetening his deal.
“There’s just a lot of things that I love about this place,” DeBoer said. “This is a championship football program. I’ve said it since Day One. It’s got the bones of championships. I love the way we’ve been accepted into this place. It’s a great place to coach.
“Like I said earlier, (Dannen) is doing everything he can to help myself and the staff continue this journey that we’re on.”
The journey currently has Washington on the outside of the playoffs as it enters the 108th meeting with Oregon State.
The schools first met in 1897 and there are no guarantees of the series continuing with Washington leaving for the Big Ten next season and the Beavers hung out to dry on the realignment front.
DeBoer also is aware that Saturday’s game decides whether the Beavers continue to harbor long-shot CFP aspirations.
“Oregon State still has an opportunity, if they win out, to get in the way I see it, knowing that they are going to bring everything they got,” DeBoer said. “They are playing at home and they are playing well and they have good momentum and we are realizing we are going to get their best shot.”
Beavers coach Jonathan Smith stopped short of calling it the biggest game in his six seasons as Oregon State coach. But he knows it is huge.
“Kind of where the records are, that makes it big,” Smith said. “That’s a good program. They win a lot of games. We’re playing late, Game 11. You want to play in the biggest games at the end of the year. This is a big one.”
Washington ranks fifth nationally in scoring offense at 41.0 points per game and sixth in total offense at 503.9 yards per contest. Heisman Trophy candidate Michael Penix Jr. has passed for 3,533 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions while running back Dillon Johnson (790 yards, 11 touchdowns on the ground) is thriving after back-to-back efforts of 256 yards against Southern California and 104 in last weekend’s 35-28 win over then-No. 16 Utah.
Oregon State is coming off a 62-17 annihilation of visiting Stanford. Damien Martinez tied the school record of four rushing touchdowns in the first half before calling it a day. He has rushed for 1,024 yards while DJ Uiagalelei has thrown for 2,254 yards, 20 touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Beavers also have developed a rabid atmosphere at remodeled Reser Stadium. Oregon State is 16-1 at home since the start of the 2021 season.
“They a good football team and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” Smith said.
–Field Level Media
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