The second College Football Playoff semifinal on New Year's Day will take place at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans as No. 2. Washington and No. 3 Texas clash Monday in the Big Easy. There will be major changes to the college football landscape in 2024, and the Longhorns and Huskies have an opportunity to etch their legacies as they prepare to enter their new conferences.
Each program has a proud tradition, including national titles, but none has ever won a CFP game. (Texas never even took the field.) In the final year before the playoffs expanded to 12 teams, both schools fielded teams with an aura of destiny that found themselves now just two wins away from the top of the mountain. Texas is over that of Alabama 43 straight wins in non-conference home games earlier this season, then won its first Big 12 title since 2009 in its final year as a conference member before joining the SEC in 2024.
Washington went 13 wins for the first time in program history while winning an extremely competitive Pac-12 in the final season before the league split. The Big Ten-bound Huskies have won 20 straight games under second-year coach Kalen DeBoer with star quarterback Michael Penix Jr.. opening the way.
Three of the five all-time meetings between these schools have been bowl games, all of which have been decided by seven points or fewer. Given what we've seen from them this season, it wouldn't be surprising if the Huskies and Longhorns played a classic.
Follow withas Texas faces Washington in the Sugar Bowl College Football Playoff semifinals.
How to watch Sugar Bowl live
Date: Monday January 1st | Time: 8:45 p.m. ET
Location: Caesars Superdome — New Orleans, Louisiana
TV: ESPN | Direct: Fubo (Try for free)
For a limited time, new subscribers can save $20 on Fubo's Pro, Elite, and Premier plans.
Texas vs. Washington: What you need to know
Legacy Game: Penix cemented his place in Washington history as he nears a second straight season leading the sport in passing yards per game. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist this season and is 24-2 as a starter for UW. His counterpart, the Texan quarterback Quinn Ewers, builds its own legacy. The Texas native transferred home after spending the 2021 season at state of ohio and helped reinvigorate the program under third-year coach Steve Sarkisian. Ewers threw for a career-high 452 yards and tied his career-high with four passing touchdowns in the Big 12 Championship Game win over Oklahoma State.
Great trench battle: Washington won the Joe Moore Award given annually to the best offensive line in the country. The Huskies have allowed just 11 sacks, which is tied for fourth nationally and especially impressive because of how often UW throws the ball. But the unit will be tested by the Texan defensive front, especially in the running game. Although the Huskies are known for their aerial attacks, they maintain honest defense with the ball carrier Dillon Johnson, who enters with 1,113 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Texas has the third-ranked rushing defense in the country, allowing just 2.87 yards per carry, and the Longhorns have gone seven straight games without allowing an opponent to average 4.0 yards per carry. If Texas' defensive interior is able to contain Washington's ground game, it could make the Huskies uncomfortably one-dimensional.
Recent match: Washington beat Texas 27-20 in the Alamo Bowl last season, which means these teams know each other well. Although some of the teams' personnel have changed since then, the head coaches, coordinators and starting quarterbacks have not. The Huskies used long drives to take a 27-10 lead, then held on in the fourth quarter as a Texas team playing without star running backs Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson staged a rally that fell short.
Sugar Bowl prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
The Texas offense found an unstoppable outfit to close out the season, racking up 1,190 total yards and 106 points in blowouts. Texas Technology and Oklahoma State. If this version of the Longhorns shows up, covering the spread won't be a problem. Both teams are capable of making huge plays in the passing game, but the Longhorns are better equipped to run the football and contain the run. Pick: Texas -4
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