BRENT STECKER

ESPN’s Joe Tessitore: Huskies aren’t considered 2 TD underdogs against Alabama by those who look closely

Dec 28, 2016, 3:57 PM
Washington's stout defensive line is "like a premier SEC defensive line," according to ESPN's Joe T...
Washington's stout defensive line is "like a premier SEC defensive line," according to ESPN's Joe Tessitore. (AP)
(AP)
LISTEN: ESPN's Joe Tessitore talks UW-Alabama before calling Peach Bowl

Judging by the Las Vegas odds and the majority of the coverage entering Saturday’s Peach Bowl, the No. 4 Washington Huskies shouldn’t stand much of a chance against top-ranked, undefeated Alabama.

Those who have focused on the matchup the most may not feel that way, though.

For example, ESPN’s Joe Tessitore, who will be on the call as the play-by-play announcer for ESPN’s broadcast of the game. He told “Brock and Salk” that there’s plenty of reason to believe the Huskies have a chance of knocking off Nick Saban’s defending national champions.

Peach Bowl: Pass D could be key | UW should take shots | Pete Carroll’s take

“I think the read nationally on this game is not the read that those who are prepping for this game day in and day out would have,” said Tessitore, adding that his broadcast and production crew see the College Football Playoff national semifinal as much more even than the 14-point spread suggests. “Those of us who are preparing for this game day in and day out, and I’m sure that coaching staff down in Tuscaloosa, they see this game far differently than the national perception of this game being over a two-touchdown gap in the points spread.”

So, why is that? Tessitore points specifically to the Huskies’ defense, which is stingy both up front and in the back end.

“You spend time with this Washington team and you just look at who’s on the field and how they look coming off the bus, that defensive line – (Vita) Vea and (Greg) Gaines and (Elijah) Qualls – that looks like a premier SEC defensive line,” he said. “And that defensive backfield, now with the emergence of (Taylor) Rapp, and obviously Budda Baker being a consensus All-American and the two rangy corners (Sidney Jones and Kevin King), that is as good of a defensive backfield as Alabama will face all year, and as good of a defensive backfield in pure talent on the field as they’ve seen in an any of their runs during these SEC championships and national title runs.”

And of course there’s the man in charge of it all for Washington – head coach Chris Petersen, who has a pretty strong history in bowl games that his team isn’t supposed to win, chiefly the 2007 Fiesta Bowl in which his Boise State Broncos capped off a 12-0 season with a 43-42 win over 7 1/2-point favorite Oklahoma.

“I think (the Crimson Tide) have great respect for (the Huskies), and I think they have great respect for the coaching staff obviously with Coach Pete,” Tessitore said.

You can catch the Peach Bowl on 710 ESPN Seattle on Saturday. Kickoff is set for noon.

Brock and Salk podcast

Brent Stecker

Mariners Cal Raleigh...
Brent Stecker

The Mariners found the perfect way to finally end the drought

There was only one path for the Mariners to get back to the playoffs, and two products of that path delivered Seattle's clinching victory.
3 days ago
Mariners J.P. Crawford Jarred Kelenic...
Brent Stecker

State of the Mariners: Where things stand with magic number at 2

The Mariners' magic number is down to two. We detail what that means, plus everything you need to know about the playoff race and the team.
5 days ago
Mariners Mitch Haniger...
Brent Stecker

Where Mariners’ quest for playoff spot stands after collapse in KC

How fans should be feeling about the Mariners' chances of ending their postseason drought in less than two weeks and how they are actually feeling right now are probably two different things.
9 days ago
Mariners Harry Ford...
Brent Stecker

Top Mariners prospect Harry Ford lights up WBC qualifiers

The season for the Modesto Nuts, the Mariners' Single-A affiliate, may have ended over a week ago, but one of the Nuts' best players is continuing to rake.
14 days ago
Mariners Luis Castillo...
Brent Stecker

Mariners Takeaways: 4 things to know as playoff push hits final turn

The Mariners have 20 games left, and they sit comfortably in a playoff position. A look at the rotation, standouts and the wild card picture.
20 days ago
Mariners Ty France...
Brent Stecker

5 things that stand out after Mariners’ huge series win over Guardians

The Mariners picked up a huge series win over the Guardians this weekend. SeattleSports.com's Brent Stecker breaks down five things to know.
1 month ago
ESPN’s Joe Tessitore: Huskies aren’t considered 2 TD underdogs against Alabama by those who look closely