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ESPN’s McDonough: UW Huskies facing ‘maybe the most talented team’ in Texas

Dec 28, 2023, 1:21 PM | Updated: 3:06 pm

UW Huskies Texas Sugar Bowl...

T'Vondre Sweat of the Texas Longhorns celebrates with teammates On Dec. 2, 2023. (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

(Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

The last time we saw the UW Huskies play, they knocked off archrival Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship in Las Vegas.

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That win got the Huskies to 13-0, cementing their spot in the College Football Playoff as the No. 2-ranked team in the country.

On Monday, Washington returns to the field, this time in New Orleans at the Sugar Bowl against No. 3 Texas.

That game can be seen on TV on ESPN – with the radio call airing live on Seattle Sports 710 AM and KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM – and the man on the call for ESPN’s TV broadcast is Sean McDonough, who joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Thursday to discuss the matchup.

“Sometimes when you’re in the grind of the season, you have a game every week and it feels like you really don’t have enough time as you really want to do it as thoroughly as you would like. So it was nice to have the extra time, especially for me with Washington,” McDonough said. “I’ve watched a lot of the Huskies’ games on TV this year and on tape, but we have not had one in person – our group. But we have had Texas a couple times.”

So what has McDonough learned about Texas, which is coached by former UW head coach Steve Sarkisian?

“I think they’re really, really good, really talented. We had their game against Kansas … and I remember saying to (McDonough’s TV partner) Greg McElroy during the week as I was watching tapes of the previous Texas games that they just look like one of those Alabama or Georgia teams from the last 15 years that has really kind of dominated college football,” McDonough said. “Just the size, the speed, the athleticism, the depth of the talent, the future NFL players just about everywhere you look.”

That talent may be different than the other three teams remaining in the playoff.

“I think they might well be and probably are, in my opinion, the most talented team of the four left,” McDonough said. “It doesn’t mean they’re gonna win it, but I think they’re certainly as talented as any team I’ve seen this year.”

What stands out with Washington?

“I just think when you watch them play week after week, Washington is super talented and obviously they found a way to win the close games. I couldn’t believe that the point spread in the championship game against Oregon was what it was. To me, that was shocking,” McDonough said of Washington enter the Pac-12 title game as 9.5-point underdogs. ” … I’m sure they take motivation from that. Although I think when you get to this time of the year and you’re playing in conference championship games, you’re playing in the college football playoff semifinal, you really don’t need any additional motivation, whether it’s from the oddsmakers or others like those of us in the media.”

With big games like this, especially since neither team has played in nearly a full month, turnovers are a big factor to watch, McDonough said.

“I think what it is in most football games, it’s turnovers and that sort of thing. I think the team that plays most efficiently and is less sloppy is the one that tends to win it,” he said. “… I really think (the two semifinals will be close games). I mean, I think these are two great matchups. I think they’re two matchups of evenly-matched teams and I’d be surprised if there was a blowout in either one of them.”

Listen to Brock and Salk’s full interview with Sean McDonough at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

Catch the UW Huskies in the Sugar Bowl against Texas with the live ESPN Radio broadcast on Seattle Sports 710 AM, KIRO Sports 97.3 FM or either station’s official mobile app at 5:30 p.m. Monday. The other College Football Playoff semifinal, the Rose Bowl between Michigan and Alabama at 2 p.m., will also air live. For more details, click here.

More on UW Huskies in the Sugar Bowl

• Rome Odunze looks for final starring chapter in CFP
• Caple: Before CFP, a look at 5 biggest bowl games in UW history
• Why CFB insider Bruce Feldman thinks UW Huskies will beat Texas
• UW notes: Winning the Joe Moore, Penix’s ‘catchable’ passes
• UW Huskies RB Dillon Johnson has checked off 3 goals, with 2 in sight
• Damon Huard: UW Michael Penix ‘is ready for the NFL’

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ESPN’s McDonough: UW Huskies facing ‘maybe the most talented team’ in Texas