College Football Playoff: Texas vs Washington Sugar Bowl betting preview

College Football Playoff: Texas vs Washington Sugar Bowl betting preview

While bowl season has already begun, all eyes will be on New Year’s Day with the College Football Playoff semifinals. In the Sugar Bowl, which takes place at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, the 12-1 Texas Longhorns of the Big-12 will clash with Pac-12 champions, the Washington Huskies, who finished 13-0 this year. The kick-off is scheduled for 8:45 PM EST, shortly after the Rose Bowl. This should be a highly entertaining game and there is a lot at stake, with the winner advancing to the National Championship the following Monday to face either Alabama or Michigan. Below, we’ll dive into the Sugar Bowl history and preview this contest. 

Quick Take

  • Texas and Washington meet in the Sugar Bowl next Monday
  • The Longhorns are a very slim favorite
  • Who will move on to the National Championship?

Sugar Bowl history

The Sugar Bowl has been around since 1935 and serves as one of the longest-running bowl games in college football. It’s always held in the Big Easy. It’s also been part of the College Football Playoff since 2014. However, it only hosts the CFP semifinal once every three years. As part of the New Year’s Six, Alabama beat Kansas State 45-20 last December in the Sugar Bowl.


There were high expectations for the Longhorns heading into 2023 with such a deep QB room and they lived up to expectations. Texas ultimately won the Big 12 after putting a beatdown on Oklahoma State, helping them finish 12-1. That was enough for Texas to get into the College Football Playoff, although many fans were upset unbeaten Florida State was robbed of a berth in it. Leading the way for the Longhorns this season was quarterback Quinn Ewers. The starter really had a nice campaign, completing 70.7% of his passes for 3,161 yards and 21 touchdowns against six interceptions. 

Ewers got most of the playing time and due to that, Maalik Murphy decided to transfer. Arch Manning is still around though, but Ewers will be the man under center in the CFP. Out wide, Xavier Worthy was Ewers’ top weapon, reeling in 73 catches for 969 yards and five touchdowns. Adonai Mitchell was also impressive, collecting 10 TDs and 51 grabs for 813 yards. This Texas offense ranked 17th in the nation in points, 11th in total yards, and 24th in passing yards. They were also top-50 in rushing. Defensively, the Longhorns aren’t any pushover either, allowing the third-lowest number of yards on the ground in the country. This is a very complete team that has what it takes to go all the way. But, Washington won’t be an easy team to beat, hence why they’re a slim -140 moneyline favorite at Bodog.


The Huskies were one of few unbeaten teams in 2023 and deserve to be at this point. They put together a phenomenal season, with Michael Penix Jr leading the way. The QB was electric and put up Heisman-caliber numbers despite losing out on the award to LSU’s Jayden Daniels. Penix Jr, a projected first-round pick, threw for a mind-boggling 4,218 yards and 33 scores versus only nine interceptions. You can see why Washington didn’t lose a game and even beat Bo Nix and Oregon twice, including a victory in the Pac-12 title game.

UW wreaked havoc on their opponents. They ranked 1st in passing yards, 10th in points, and 14th in total yards. Rome Odunze and Ja’Lynn Polk were absolute studs downfield for Penix Jr, who relied heavily on his arm and not so much his legs. The Huskies have five pass-catchers with a minimum of 30 receptions apiece. Penix Jr has lots of options.

Defensively, Washington wasn’t great by any means but it didn’t matter so much considering how dominant the offense was. That being said, they will need to find a way to stop Texas and their dynamic attack if the National Championship is going to be a reality. The Huskies are a small underdog at football betting sites.