FCS coach: 'I'd mortgage my house' betting on Washington for national title

Bruce Barnum's team beat Washington State in 2015 (Getty).
Bruce Barnum’s team beat Washington State in 2015 (Getty).

Portland State coach Bruce Barnum really likes the team Washington coach Chris Petersen has put together at Washington.

Washington has started the season 2-0 with wins over Rutgers and Idaho. Not exactly a ridiculously tough way to open the season, but the Huskies are No. 8 in the country and Barnum is incredibly confident the team could be ranked even higher.

“I wouldn’t be shocked at all [if Washington won the national championship],” Barnum said Wednesday via the Seattle Times. “I don’t know what the odds are in Vegas because I can’t gamble because I’m a head coach in college football but … I’d mortgage my house and put it on the Huskies.”

As Barnum notes, his scenario is a very hypothetical one; coaches are barred from betting on games. But his comments are strong (and fun and colorful), especially coming from a coach whose team beat a Pac-12 team from Washington a year ago. Portland State opened the 2015 season against Washington State and took down Washington’s rivals 24-17. Going on the road to a big school shouldn’t be too overwhelming.

Or maybe Barnum has money on the brain because of the payout his team is getting for playing Washington. Games vs. bigger schools are huge for smaller athletic departments’ budgets and Portland State is making over $500,000 for the game per the Times.

Barnum, who gave his end-of-season-bonus to his coaching staff after 2015, is especially impressed with Washington’s defense. While Washington’s success (or lack thereof) in 2016, may be pinned on sophomore quarterback Jake Browning and the Husky offense, a defense with seven returning starters was a big reason why Washington was picked by some to break the Stanford/Oregon stronghold on the Pac-12 North in 2016.

“[Defensive coordinator] Pete Kwiatkowski and [defensive backs coach] Jimmy Lake and [defensive line coach] Ikaika (Malloe), they have those guys playing like you’re supposed to play the game. … They’re intimidating, they’re fast; they play the game how it’s supposed to be played. So it’s a huge challenge for us. We’re going to go up there and try to run the football and keep them off the field and punt and hopefully they fumble and we win.”

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!