The 2019 Rose Bowl matches up two of the best coaches in all of college football, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Washington’s Chris Petersen.
Petersen has compiled a 139-32 career record, which works out to an .813 winning percentage. That’s the second-best of any coach in FBS, but only the second-best in the 2019 Rose Bowl, too.
Meyer’s career record is 186-32, good for .853.
Petersen is being overshadowed in the lead-up to the game, too. Meyer’s retirement has been the dominant storyline in interviews, and will likely be a recurring theme during the game broadcast as well.
That’s probably fine with Petersen, who has spent most of his career a little bit overlooked and underappreciated. It’s certainly okay with his biggest star.
“I think we’ve always been a kind of under-the-radar team and kind of feel comfortable there,” said Washington quarterback Jake Browning.
Petersen had a ridiculous a 92-12 record at Boise State, turning a program that had been best-known for its quirky turf color into a legitimate national power.
Then, after spending his first two years in Seattle rebuilding the Huskies’ program, Petersen has since rolled off three straight 10+ win seasons.
Much like Meyer’s “Plan To Win,” Petersen has a series of key concepts that he has lived by for years. But he knows that the small stuff matters, too.
“He’s consistent on the little things, just little details about day-to-day practice and stuff like that. Just continuously, continually remind you, and even though it’s the 50th time I’ve heard it, doesn’t really care, he’s going to emphasize the points he thinks are important to winning,” Browning said.
Washington offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan played for Petersen at Boise State. He said that the coach has stuck to his principles regardless of where he was.
“He creates this culture where everybody’s held accountable – staff members, players included. You got a job to do, and you better be striving to do it to the best of your ability,” Hamdan said.
That makes Petersen sound like a whip-cracking task-master, but Hamdan said that’s definitely not the case.
“Also having a very comfortable environment where guys enjoy coming to work every day,” he said. “It’s been that balance that’s been as good as anywhere I’ve been around.”
Hamdan said that Petersen looks for assistants who strike that same balance with players, too.
“He’s got to genuinely believe that you care more about the players off the field than you do on the field, and there’s got to be the itching desire to be the best. And regardless of where you’re at, that never-stop-learning process.”