The National Championship game is set, and Washington is joining Michigan in battling for the title in Houston.
We are going to the Natty pic.twitter.com/NbFeQyWszd— Washington Football (@UW_Football) January 2, 2024
Washington is a 4.5-point underdog on DraftKings Sportsbook as of the time of this article, but are the Huskies a worthy underdog? Mike Golic Jr. of GoJo and Golic joined Peter Keating and Jordan Brenner to discuss on the latest episode of Underdogs.
GoJo says the Michigan-Washington matchup is more of a toss up. He says Michigan is the more complete team, as the defense is great and the offense is foundationally built the right way with a veteran quarterback. GoJo says the wild card with Washington is that their defense has not been statistically good this season, but they are timely and have just enough playmakers on that side of the ball to go ahead and get their buzzsaw offense back on the field. So, that makes them a complicated out, according to GoJo.
Jordan says you almost have to recalibrate your brain a bit after watching the game against Texas because Washington looked unstoppable offensively and you have to remember that they were playing against a Big 12 defense and not Michigan. Sure, Michael Penix Jr. was great, but Jordan says those receivers make him even better.
GoJo says everything about the offense serves every part of it. They have the best offensive line in college football as well as a playcaller in Ryan Grubb who throws so many protections at you. GoJo also takes a moment to say that “Big 12 defense” means so much more than it used to. He says if you looked at Texas’ defensive personnel, they were so much bigger than Washington that it was almost comical. At the same time, GoJo says Penix helps the receivers but he puts the ball in great spots. So when you have a good offensive line, a good QB and NFL-level receivers and a playcaller who can scheme like he does, it all sort of works together.
Jordan agrees that offensive line play is so important. He says what he found interesting watching the Michigan-Alabama game was that it was the first time he saw Michigan in one of these games where he thought the Wolverines were strong, physical and athletic on both lines. Can the Washington line hold up against a defense like Michigan’s?
GoJo says yes. Again he points out that Texas had opportunities to get to Penix and couldn’t bring him down. He says Michigan does throw a lot at you, noting that all five of their sacks against Alabama came from different looks and spots. But only two of those sacks came from one side physically beating the other. Meanwhile, Washington’s line is always on the same page, GoJo says, and that’s his favorite thing about that group. As GoJo says, five guys have to see things through one set of eyes and Washington’s line and QB see the same picture.
Peter says it’s amazing because they’re all on the same page when it comes to this game, saying his notes are all about line of scrimmage, specifically Washington’s offensive line. He says they have taken not needing to be 380 pounds and fast at the same time as far as that concept can go. He says Michigan’s front seven has been great, but Washington has given up 11 sacks all season. He points out that against top 25 defenses, Penix has thrown for nine touchdowns with 1,400 yards and just two interceptions in four games. Penix and Washington have played tough competition very well, Peter says. Whether they can keep Penix upright and whether they can rush the ball will be the key questions for this game, according to Peter, and he thinks the answer will be yes for all the reasons discussed.
CFP National Championship: Are the Huskies a Worthy Underdog? Ft. Mike Golic Jr.
- This Week on “Underdogs,” The College Football Playoff National Championship is set! Jordan and Peter are joined by Mike Golic Jr., host of “Gojo and Golic,” to break down the much-anticipated Michigan/Washington matchup. Plus, Mike sticks around to make the final NFL Underdog picks of the season!
Watch the full episode below!
Be sure to check out more episodes of Underdogs on the Le Batard and Friends YouTube page and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts! You can also follow Peter on X at @PeterKeatingNJ and Jordan at @JordanBrenner.
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