The Texas Longhorns have earned a spot in the College Football Playoff after going 12-1 and winning the Big 12 Championship on Saturday with a 49-21 victory over Oklahoma State.
Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns will head to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, where they’ll face No. 2 Washington. The Huskies (13-0) will provide a very stiff test for Texas’ defense, as Michael Penix has been one of the most efficient passers in the country this season, and showed that in a 34-31 win over Oregon on Friday night.
This game is not just a rematch from the 2022 Valero Alamo Bowl, but also pits Sark against the team that gave him his start as a head coach. Sarkisian was the head coach in Seattle from 2009-13, where he had a 34-29 overall record over five seasons. Despite never winning more than eight games, Sark had just one losing season there before going back to Southern Cal to take the USC job.
Shortly after Texas learned that it would face UW, Sarkisian was asked about facing his former team.
“Kind of ironic,” he said. “Washington still holds a special place to me. I got my first head coaching opportunity there and had five tremendous years trying to rebuild that program. What coach DeBoer’s been able to do and what they’ve been able to do over the last couple of seasons has really been a tremendous run.
“Ironically, we played them in the Alamo Bowl a year ago. I think there’s some familiarity there. They’ve got a heck of a team. Really talented offense. They’re running the ball extremely well with Dillon Johnson and they’re playing really good defense. We know we’re going to need this extra preparation to get ourselves prepared to play, but I know our kids are excited.”
The Longhorns and Huskies will kick off from New Orleans on January 1 at 7:45 p.m. CT on ESPN.