- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
BURBANK, Calif. -- The elephant in the room sharing the stage with Washington coach Chris Petersen was giant and covered in blue turf.
So when he sat down and no reporter opted to ask the first question, he jokingly asked it of himself, knowing it would eventually come.
“Don’t be shy. … You want me to ask a question?” Petersen remarked. “What do you think it's going to be like in Boise?"
And though it would be several questions before he got to the meat of the Boise State discussion, it was out there and it was Petersen -- who has remained largely quiet on the issue of the season opener -- who had been the first to go at it, and with a bit of humor nonetheless.
“If I had any inkling whatsoever that I might be sitting here, [Washington] would be the last team out of 128,” Petersen said when discussing scheduling.
But, alas, the game was scheduled and Petersen is here, coaching the team that will now face his former team on Sept. 4. As a former Group of 5 coach, Petersen knows how big this game will be in the college football landscape. When he coached in the Mountain West, he fought for these kinds of matchups. With strength of schedule becoming more important in the College Football Playoffs age, these games could become harder and harder to come by.
Though Petersen has admitted the game will be awkward for himself and his family, he said that he never thought about trying to cancel it.
“I thought that would be kind of ridiculous and selfish,” Petersen said. “So, you know, it's awkward for me; I get that. But I'm going to change this for everybody because it's awkward for me? That's not my style.”
And for as much as it has been discussed in the media, Washington running back Deontae Cooper said Petersen really hasn’t brought it up and the only talk he has really heard of it is in news conferences when it’s brought up in questions.
“As for me and the players, I feel like we’re just excited because it’s going to be our first game,” Cooper said. “Boise State is going to be excited. They may be excited to play against coach Pete or they may be excited just to hit someone else.”