Faculty Soccer Playoff Predictions and Finest Bets: Texas vs. Washington within the Sugar Bowl

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By Calvin S. Nelson

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The Texas Longhorns and Washington Huskies performed each other virtually precisely a yr in the past within the Alamo Bowl. The Longhorns and Huskies meet once more Sunday within the Sugar Bowl with a lot larger stakes this time round.

For Texas, that is its first Faculty Soccer Playoff look and finest season since 2009, which ended with a loss within the nationwide championship to Alabama. Washington has made it to this stage earlier than, however not since its 2016 loss within the semifinals, which was coincidentally additionally to the Crimson Tide.

The No. 3 Longhorns (12–1) gained the Huge 12 Championship in an enormous means of their remaining season within the convention. Texas blew out Oklahoma State 49–21 within the title sport and beat ’Bama 34–24 in Tuscaloosa earlier within the yr — the one blemish on its resume was a 34–30 loss to rival Oklahoma within the Crimson River Rivalry. The No. 2 Huskies (13–0) beat Oregon 34–31 to win the Pac-12 title, additionally of their final yr within the league, behind the play of Heisman Trophy runner-up Michael Penix Jr.

Sugar Bowl CFP Semifinal Odds: No. 3 Texas vs. No. 2 Washington

Unfold: Texas -3.5 (-118) | Washington +3.5 (-110)
Moneyline: TEX (-188) | WASH (+145)
Whole: 62.5 – Over (-110) | Below (-110)
Sport Information: Monday, Jan. 1 | 8:45 p.m. ET | ESPN
Location: Caesars Superdome | New Orleans, LA

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Finest Guess: Below 62.5 (-110)

Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers appears to be like to outscore Washtington’s Michael Penix Jr. within the Sugar Bowl.

Zachary BonDurant/USA TODAY Sports activities; Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports activities;

The Longhorns misplaced main rusher Jonathan Brooks to an ACL tear over a month in the past however they’ve nonetheless managed to maneuver the ball on the bottom with out him. CJ Baxter, Jaydon Blue and Keilan Robinson have traded turns main the workforce in dashing within the three video games with out Brooks. Texas romped for over 300 yards in a 57–7 win over Texas Tech and practically 200 towards the Cowboys.

Quarterback Quinn Ewers threw for a career-best 452 yards and 4 scores within the title sport towards OSU and he’s up towards a Washington go protection that’s struggled all season. Ewers threw for 369 yards and a landing final yr in a loss to the Huskies, a career-high on the time. The Longhorns are one of many highest-scoring groups within the FBS at 36.2 factors per sport they usually’ve proven they’ll outscore opponents with Ewers throwing to Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell or by leaning on a steady of working backs in Brooks’ absence — or each.

The place Texas units itself aside on this matchup is on the opposite facet of the ball. Its protection surrenders simply 17.5 factors per sport and provides up 80.5 dashing yards on common. The Longhorns have been vulnerable within the secondary, which could possibly be an issue towards Penix, the highest passer within the FBS, however they’re set as much as decelerate working again Dillon Johnson. Texas has solely allowed 20 or extra factors 5 occasions this season. Comparatively, it’s held 5 groups to 10 or fewer.

Washington is all about its offense. The Pac-12 champs common 37.7 factors per sport and the majority of their manufacturing comes by means of the air as Penix helps two 1,000-yard receivers: Rome Odunze and Ja’Lynn Polk. The Huskies scored 50 as many occasions as they had been held underneath 30 (three). That harmful offense factors stalled in November, a 22–20 win over Oregon State and a 24–21 victory over Washington State, however Penix returned to kind within the convention title sport with 319 passing yards.

It appeared like each week was a detailed name for Washington in Pac-12 play. Seven of its 9 contests towards convention opponents had been determined by one rating, together with its remaining 4 video games. Oftentimes, the protection was responsible. The Huskies allowed 32 factors to Cal and 33 to Stanford, to not point out a season-high 42 to USC and 33 and 31 to Oregon. Permitting 23.6 factors per sport is just not damning in and of itself, however rating one hundred and twentieth in passing yards allowed definitely is.

The over was simply 5–8 in Texas video games this season and the 62.5-point whole will mark a season-high. Even Washington, a workforce with a high-powered offense and porous protection, noticed the over go 6–7 this season. Although the Huskies are accustomed to totals within the 60s — and even hit the over in a sport with a 76-point whole — hardly any of these video games had been towards groups as stout on protection because the Longhorns. There’s nonetheless room for the underneath to hit in a sport the place these offenses commerce pictures backwards and forwards given the lofty whole.

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