ESPN's snarky cupcake graphic mocking Washington's early schedule did not get in the way of the poll voters this week, when the No. 5 Huskies used another victory to take another step in their gradual ascent in the rankings.
All a team can do is beat the teams it plays, and Washington has done all it can toward securing its second straight appearance in the four-team College Football Playoff before the selection committee's initial poll -- the only one that really matters -- comes out on Halloween.
The Huskies (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) will attempt to keep rolling in their third Pac-12 road game in four weeks against Arizona State (2-3, 1-1) at Sun Devil Stadium at 10:45 p.m. ET.
"I'm not really a political guy," Petersen said. "I just try to be honest. There are certain times you do stand up for certain things, and then you move on. What I need to do is move on and concentrate on Arizona State. That's the most important thing for us."
Washington is led by junior quarterback Jake Browning, junior running back Myles Gaskin and a defense that is ranked No. 2 nationally in yards allowed (228.8 yards per game). The Huskies are third in the country in rushing defense and have held each of their conference opponents to one touchdown apiece.
Browning, the 2016 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, has completed 122 of 173 passes for 1,466 yards with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. Gaskin has rushed for 559 yards and eight touchdowns, and he set a career high with 202 yards rushing on 24 carries in a 37-10 victory at Colorado on Sept. 23.
Washington is averaging 43 points a game, tied with Alabama and Oregon for 10th in the FBS. The Huskies are averaging 432.2 yards of offense. Freshman tight end Hunter Bryant had a breakout game last week against Cal with nine receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, California's only touchdown in a 38-7 loss at Seattle last week was on a fumble recovery by the defense. Washington limited the Bears to nine first downs and 93 yards of offense. The Huskies have a plus-7 turnover margin, with 13 takeaways, and have scored two touchdowns on interception returns.
"Each week we've kind of grown in certain areas," Petersen said. "That's kind of what it's all about. There are certain things we come out of every game where we're like, 'That just didn't feel like or look right, and how we get better from that?' Each week I think the kids have really responded."
With junior quarterback Manny Wilkins leading the way, Arizona State can move the ball. The Sun Devils are averaging almost 427 yards a game. Wilkins has thrown for 1,452 yards -- just 14 fewer than Browning -- and has eight touchdowns and two interceptions.
At the same time, Arizona State has given up an average of 484.2 yards a game, ranked No. 118 among the 129 FBS teams.
Arizona State senior halfback Demario Richard rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns at Stanford, and the Sun Devils had a season-high 214 yards. Richard also had 57 receiving yards to reach 3,019 career all-purpose yards.
ASU can be dangerous at home. The Huskies' 44-10 victory in Seattle last November ended the Sun Devils' 10-game series winning streak, and Arizona State has won six straight in the series at Sun Devil Stadium, dating to 2001.
Arizona State beat then-No. 24 Oregon at home on Sept. 23, and it can gain motivation from the fact that the Pac-12 South is wide open. Each of the six teams has at least one loss.
"They are obviously the team to beat in our league," Graham said of Washington. "Very good personnel. Defense, seems like those guys have been playing together for three, four years. They are very, very good at what they do."
VDB Free Betting Prediction: Washington 52, Arizona State 21
Washington Huskies vs Arizona State Sun Devils VDB Sport Betting Odds and Matchup Report
Washington Huskies vs Arizona State Sun Devils VDB Betting Odds
|Washington Huskies||-18 (-110)||-||57 (-110)o|
|Arizona State Sun Devils||+18 (-110)||-||57 (-110)u|
|Name||Record||Home||Away||ATS||ATS Home||ATS Away||Offense||Defense||Diff|
|Name||Record||Home||Away||ATS||ATS Home||ATS Away||Offense||Defense||Diff|
Betting Odds Trends
|Washington is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games|
|Washington is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games|
|Washington is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games on the road|
|Washington is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games on the road|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Washington's last 5 games on the road|
|Washington is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Arizona State|
|Washington is 1-10 SU in its last 11 games when playing Arizona State|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Washington's last 6 games when playing Arizona State|
|Washington is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Arizona State|
|Washington is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Arizona State|
|Arizona State Sun Devils|
|Arizona State is 2-3-1 ATS in its last 6 games|
|Arizona State is 2-9 SU in its last 11 games|
|The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Arizona State's last 5 games|
|Arizona State is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games at home|
|Arizona State is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Washington|
|Arizona State is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games when playing Washington|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Arizona State's last 6 games when playing Washington|
|Arizona State is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against Washington|
|Arizona State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Washington|
|Chico McClatcher||WR||out for season - Ankle - 9/25/17||McClatcher is likely to miss the remainder of the season due to a broken ankle.|
|Byron Murphy||DB||Late Nov - Foot - 9/23/17||Murphy is expected to need six-to-eight weeks to recover from a broken foot.|
|DJ Beavers||LB||Out indefinitely - Foot - 8/29/17||Beavers has a foot injury and it is unknown as to how long he will be out.|
|David Ajamu||TE||out for season - Leg - 8/28/17||Ajamu sustained a season-ending broken leg.|
|John Humphrey||WR||Prob Sat - Knee - 10/9/17||Humphrey has missed the last three games with a knee injury but is expected to return for Saturday's game against Washington.|
|Koron Crump||LB||Out indefinitely - Knee - 9/21/17||Crump has a knee injury and will likely need an extended absence to recuperate.|
|Brady White||QB||Out indefinitely - Foot - 8/16/17||White is recuperating from a broken right foot and is in danger of missing the entire season.|
|Jack Smith||WR||out for season - Back - 8/14/17||Smith has a back injury and is expected to sit out the entire 2017 season.|
|11/19/16||ASU 18||WASH 44||-27/62.5||L/U||-294||-186||-108|
|11/14/15||WASH 17||ASU 27||-2.5/51||W/U||-150||2||-152|
|10/25/14||ASU 24||WASH 10||3/60||L/U||-5||-46||41|
|10/19/13||WASH 24||ASU 53||-3.5/68||W/O||373||319||54|
|10/9/10||ASU 24||WASH 14||-1/59||L/U||48||-31||79|
|10/17/09||WASH 17||ASU 24||-6.5/47||W/U||86||70||16|
|11/8/08||ASU 39||WASH 19||13/48||L/O||121||130||-9|
|10/13/07||WASH 20||ASU 44||-11/56||W/O||235||150||85|
|10/28/06||ASU 26||WASH 23||1.5/49||L/P||86||64||22|
|10/29/05||WASH 20||ASU 44||-14/60||W/O||80||-136||216|
Washington Last 10
|9/30/17||@ ORST||W 42-7||-27/59||W/U||325||106||219|
|9/23/17||@ COLO||W 37-10||-11/54.5||W/U||92||123||-31|
|9/1/17||@ RUTG||W 30-14||-28/54.5||L/U||59||-47||106|
|12/31/16||@ ALA||L 7-24||12.5/50.5||L/U||-132||-225||93|
|11/25/16||@ WSU||W 45-17||-6/62||W/P||176||103||73|
Arizona State Last 10
|9/30/17||@ STAN||L 24-34||17/60.5||W/U||-92||-114||22|
|9/16/17||@ TTU||L 45-52||6.5/74||L/O||-121||96||-217|
|11/25/16||@ ARIZ||L 35-56||-1/65||L/O||-96||-391||295|
|11/19/16||@ WASH||L 18-44||27/62.5||W/U||-294||-186||-108|
|10/29/16||@ ORE||L 35-54||10/72.5||L/O||-266||-106||-160|