With the 2016 calendar year coming to a close, the College Football Playoff contest between Alabama and Washington closes in on kickoff.

During Tide 102.9’s live coverage of Alabama’s trip to Atlanta, Pac 12 Network studio host Mike Yam offered his thoughts on the clash between the Huskies and Crimson Tide on The Gary Harris Show.

The top ranked Crimson Tide enters the game as a 14-point favorite against the Huskies according to various betting lines in Las Vegas. Despite being an underdog, Yam summarized Washington’s role as the underdog and Alabama as a heavy favorite.

“This is exactly what Chris Petersen wants and the exact opposite of what Nick Saban wants to hear. He doesn’t want to hear that he’s the huge favorite, although it is Alabama and that’s consistently what the narrative is surrounding this program.” Yam said.

The Pac 12 Network studio host dove deeper into Chris Petersen’s success as an underdog dating back to his coaching days at Boise State

“Washington is a program and Chris Petersen thrives on this underdog mentality. It was years at Boise State where he was able to go and knock out some of the big boys.”  Yam stated.

Later in the conversation, Yam highlighted the trio of quarterback Jake Browning and receivers John Ross and Dante Pettis as difference makers in Washington’s Pac 12 title run.

While Washington has big play ability in the passing game, Yam thinks that pass protection is a concern when it comes to making the big play via the air.

“I think the biggest challenge for Jake Browning is to be able to have the time to go in and do that.” Yam said.

On the opposite side of the ball, Yam believes that the Washington defense could make Saturday’s game closer than anticipated.

“There’s some Sunday guys that are playing on Washington’s defense that I think can keep this game significantly closer than I think some fans want to give Washington credit for.” Yam said.

The Pac 12 Network studio host further explained how Washington’s identity as a team is built on defense and how the secondary is among the best in college football.

Yam also examined the mutual ties between Alabama and Washington including Steve Sarkisian’s tenure as head coach, gave his keys to the game and his score prediction for Saturday.

Catch The Gary Harris Show every week day from 9-11 AM on Tide 102.9/100.9 and the radioPup app.