Pete Carroll shares his perspective on UW Huskies vs Harbaugh, Michigan for title

Jan 8, 2024, 11:31 AM | Updated: 12:49 pm

UW Huskies Michigan National Championship...

Michael Penix Jr of the Washington Huskies celebrates with Jalen McMillan on Jan. 1, 2024. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

(Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

We’re just hours away from arguably the biggest game in the history of the UW Huskies football program as they prepare to take on Michigan for the national championship.

CFP Preview: Unbeatens Michigan, UW Huskies square off for championship

There are many head coaches that have won national championships at the NCAA level. And 35 head coaches have won the Super Bowl. Only three have won both, and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is one of them.

Carroll’s Seahawks made it to two Super Bowls in 2013 and 2014, winning the first and coming ever so close to winning the second.

In college at USC, Carroll won back-to-back national championships in 2003 and 2004, and nearly won a third straight the next year when the Trojans lost to Texas in a game many consider to be the greatest college football game of all time.

That gives Carroll a very unique perspective when it comes to winning the most prestigious awards in football.

And on Monday, Carroll shared his insight into what the Huskies must do to knock off the favored Wolverines in Houston.

“The challenge is for them to play like they’re capable of playing, and not being caught into the hype of this thing and not being distracted from who they are,” Carroll told Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. “And (UW head coach Kalen DeBoer) I think does a great job with these guys.”

The Huskies got to the national championship thanks in large part to star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and the team’s high-powered passing attack. Even against a tough Michigan defense, Carroll expects Washington to move the ball and score points.

“I would be shocked if they don’t execute like crazy on offense. They’ve been so consistent, so good at it,” Carroll said.

But handling the hype surrounding the game is ultimately what Carroll thinks is the biggest challenge both teams face.

“It’s the hype, the build up, the expectations, they’re listening to you guys (in the media) and whatever else is going on around them and them dreaming and getting caught up in stuff in their own world,” he said. “(Those are things) that could take them away from the focus that it takes to play this game.”

Carroll’s second title at USC came against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. That game, which Carroll said he remembers “so well and so clearly,” was very hyped up beforehand as both teams sat atop the AP and BCS polls for the entire year.

“‘The biggest college game in the history,’ they were saying stuff like that,” Carroll recalled. “And how are you gonna go? And we just frieaking rolled.”

Carroll’s Trojans won that game handily at 55-19, and Carroll likened his victory that day to the Seahawks’ 43-8 thumping of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 48.

“We rolled like we did in the Super Bowl. And it was no different in the Super Bowl in that the preparation to get them to the point where they totally trust that they got this. I don’t need to reach out for nothing else, let’s just go play our game and then stay there throughout and not see the scoreboard and not see the fourth quarter coming around in a way that distracts them from being able to do that all the way to the finish,” Carroll said.

“They’ve got a great chance,” Carroll said of the UW Huskies.

Carroll also has a unique perspective on Monday’s title game because the guy running the show for Michigan is a longtime Carroll adversary.

Michigan’s head coach is Jim Harbaugh, who had plenty of head coaching battles with Carroll at both the college and NFL levels. The two head coaches were Pac-10 rivals when Carroll was at USC and Harbaugh coached at Stanford. A few years later, the two duked it out in the NFC West when Harbaugh coached the San Francisco 49ers.

“I’m telling you, Jimmy’s gonna have his team ready to go now,” Carroll said. “They’re tough and physical and they’ll get after it and he’ll do some crazy stuff and something will happen in there somewhere where they’ll make it play somewhere that you’re going to have to withstand it, because they’re going to be really a grueling football team to play against.”

The undefeated, No. 2-ranked UW Huskies meet the undefeated, No. 1-ranked Michigan Wolverines in the College Football Playoff National Championship at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8. You can hear the ESPN Radio broadcast live on Seattle Sports 710 AM, or streaming on the Seattle Sports app and

More on UW Huskies vs Michigan for national championship

• Final season for Michael Penix Jr. improves NFL Draft stock
• CFP Preview: Unbeatens Michigan, UW Huskies square off for championship
• Radio: How to hear UW vs Michigan in CFP National Championship
• Harbaugh’s future at Michigan is subplot to CFP title game as UW tries to lock up DeBoer
• Carson Bruener: UW Huskies love to ‘continue to prove them wrong’
• Caple: Dillon Johnson says he expects to play for UW Huskies vs Michigan
• What one CFB analyst says UW Huskies’ matchup with Michigan is all about
• Strength vs. strength: Michigan’s stingy pass D faces UW Huskies, Penix
• Herbstreit: The biggest X-factors for UW Huskies against Michigan
• 2 top CFB analysts break down UW Huskies’ matchup with Michigan

Brock and Salk podcast

Brock and Salk

Seattle Seahawks Ryan Grubb 2024 rookie minicamp...

Cameron Van Til

Baldinger: The biggest jump new Seahawks OC Grubb will face in NFL

NFL Network's Brian Baldinger explains the biggest transition for Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb as he moves to the NFL.

20 hours ago

Seattle Mariners trade target Ryan McMahon...

Zac Hereth

Mariners Trade Target: A versatile infielder from the Rockies

Brock Huard and Mike Lefko look at Colorado's Ryan McMahon as a potential trade target for the Seattle Mariners.

2 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Riq Woolen Devon Witherspoon...

Brent Stecker

Will Seahawks be missing on the NFL’s annual Top 100 list?

Members of the Seattle Seahawks used to be all over the NFL Top 100 list, but that seems unlikely this year. So which players have a case?

2 days ago

Potential Seattle Seahawks UFL target Carlos Davis...

Zac Hereth

ESPN insider names two more UFL players Seahawks could target

ESPN Seattle Seahawks insider Brady Henderson assesses if Seattle could be in on more UFL players after signing RB Ricky Person Jr.

2 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Mike Macdonald 2024 rookie minicamp...

Cameron Van Til

Baldinger: What makes Seahawks’ new D a ‘conundrum’ for QBs

NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger explains how new Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald's defense puts opposing quarterbacks in a bind.

3 days ago

Seattle Seahawks signee Ricky Person Jr....

Zac Hereth

Will Seahawks’ new RB from UFL factor into backfield?

Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard analyzes the Seattle Seahawks' signing of RB Ricky Person Jr. from the UFL.

3 days ago

Pete Carroll shares his perspective on UW Huskies vs Harbaugh, Michigan for title