The message No. 2 Washington wanted to convey after No. 1 Miami's 22-0 Orange Bowl victory over No. 11 Nebraska was that "We're No. 1, too."
Returning to find the lobby of their Anaheim Marriott headquarters filled with purple-and-gold fans and satellite-connected mini-cams, the spin the Huskies were trying to put out was that the only just result for the polls would be a split decision.
"I think it would be a shame if we didn't share the title," said quarterback Billy Joe Hobert, the co-most valuable player of Wednesday's 78th Rose Bowl.
Coach Don James used even stronger terms to describe the importance of sharing the mythical crown.
"Dennis (Erickson, Miami's coach) and I felt it would be a real tragedy for both teams to go 12-0 and left of out this thing," James said. "We'll just have to wait and see."
James also was seemingly campaigning for a share of the title.
"I think that would be the fairest thing," James said. "I just know how I would feel right now and what our players would feel if we didn't win at least one poll."
Miami held a 14-point lead over Washington in the final Associated Press regular-season poll.
The final results will be announced today.
The Huskies (12-0) were atop polls conducted by United Press International, the Sporting News and Football News, and were tied with Miami for the lead in a coaches' survey conducted by USA Today and the Cable News Network.
The Huskies only got to see a bit of the Orange Bowl.
"They looked good and drove it home," Hobert said.
In another attempt at spin-doctoring, James also stressed that his team was much less visible than Miami.
"There are a lot of guys that vote who have never seen us play," James said. "I just hope we get equal respect because we have got a great football team. We took apart a very, very good football team.
"To do what we did against them, I think that says a lot for our players."