PHOTO: USA Today Sports
Chris Petersen has been a bit of a red herring in terms of coaching searches. His name always seems to surface but it never leads to anything. It has even got to the point that that the mere mention of his name in a coaching search makes me laugh. Not because he's unworthy of consideration but because he has always seemed happy at Boise State being the big fish in the small pond and the rumors have never turned into anything bigger. But this flirtation with Washington feels a bit different.
Adam Jude, who is a Washington Huskies beat writer for the Seattle Times, posted on Twitter on Thursday night that Chris Petersen will interview with Washington on Friday. Petersen taking an interview here after also being rumored for the job the last time it was open is very interesting. Petersen has also coached in the Pacific Northwest before as he was a QB coach at Portland State and a WR coach at Oregon before heading to Boise to take over their offense.
Anybody that follows college football knows about Chris Petersen and his success at Boise State. He wasn't put in a bad situation when he took over the Broncos (Boise State was 9-4 the year before he took over) but he took them to another level going 13-0 in his first season and amassing a record of 92-12 with the Broncos. This past season, Boise State had their worst season since he's been head coach as they went 8-4 in the regular season which leads me to believe that it might be as good of a time to move on as any.
It's comparing apples to oranges, because the Pac-12 and the Mountain West Conference are entirely different animals, but it is interesting to note that in Petersen's worst season Boise had the same record that Steve Sarkisian had in his best season at Washington. Of course, Sark's Huskies also routed Petersen's team this season in the opener (the two coaches went 1-1 head-to-head in their tenure).
When Sark took over at Washington, he inherited a mess as the 2008 Huskies went 0-12 under Ty Willingham. Sark had a nice run with the Huskies going 34-29 but was never able to get them over the hump in the Pac-12 North Division.
If you had the choice of either Chris Petersen or Steve Sarkisian, who would you take as your head coach? It's not a knock on Sark, as he's a good coach, but I would take Petersen every time. During Petersen's run he's proven that he can win without marquee talent and he's proven that he can win on the biggest stages that he's been on. Petersen's career 7-6 record against Top 25 teams isn't that impressive but his 3-0 record against Top 10 teams is very impressive. As is his 8-2 mark against the Pac-12.
If Washington can get Chris Petersen in the fold, I think he gives them an upgrade over Sarkisian. Sark has had to learn how to be a head coach while he also tried to upgrade and rebuild the Huskies program. With Petersen, the Huskies would get a proven winner who already knows what Sark was learning on the fly. He also will have the benefit of being able to come in and take over a program that isn't in ruins (something that Sarkisian wasn't afforded). If Petersen is going to leave Boise, this is the perfect opportunity for him to do so and I believe it will take Washington to the next level if they are able to wrangle him away from the Mountain West. On the other hand, if Petersen doesn't take this job, it will be very hard to take him seriously when his name surfaces for other jobs in the future.