The Washington Huskies will open their 2018 campaign against the Auburn Tigers in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The Huskies come into the 2018 season with the expectation that they not only will compete for a Pac-12 title, but also a spot in the College Football Playoff. Auburn similarly hopes to be in the playoff picture at the end of the season. Both teams likely will enter the season ranked in the AP Top 25.
Here is why ESPN’s Seth Walder believes Auburn vs. Washington is critical to the College Football Playoff:
By our adjusted leverage metric — which considers each team’s chance of earning a top-4 strength of record depending on the result of their game and how likely that result is — no game in Week 1 matters more to the playoff race than this one. In fact, it’s the third-most important game for the playoff race in the entire season and it’s a coin flip — FPI gives each team a 50 percent shot to win.
If Washington wins the game, it would have a 51 percent chance to have a top-4 SOR (our playoff proxy), while Auburn would have a 35 percent chance with a win.
Oddsmakers in Las Vegas recently released the Week 1 lines and currently Washington is a 3.5-point underdog.