Washington Huskies lose national championship to Michigan
Yes, but: The Huskies nevertheless proved they are serious college football contenders who shouldn't be underestimated, after being billed as underdogs throughout much of the season.
Driving the news: The Huskies' 34–13 loss to Michigan in Monday's College Football Playoff national championship ended their 21-game winning streak that started last season, leaving Washington's season record at 14–1.
- The Dawgs entered Monday's game as the No. 2 team in college football, a rank they haven't achieved in decades.
- But the Huskies' normally explosive offense couldn't get a rhythm going against Michigan's defense, which held UW to its lowest points scored this season, including only one touchdown.
- Heisman runner-up Michael Penix Jr., the UW quarterback, suffered an apparent injury mid-game that didn't help the Huskies' efforts to come back from behind.
The big picture: The UW brought national attention to the Pac-12 conference in the final year the league will exist as we know it.
- Washington, Oregon, UCLA and USC are joining the Big Ten this fall, while four other Pac-12 teams are headed to the Big 12 and two are going to the ACC.
- That leaves Washington State and Oregon State as the sole remaining members of the conference that has defined college sports on the West Coast for decades.
Between the lines: Even without a national trophy, the UW's near-perfect season is likely to be a boon for the Huskies' fall recruiting class, helping secure top high school prospects and transfer players.
- That's important because the team will soon lose some of its stars.
- Penix and 11 other Husky seniors are in their final year of eligibility, with no option to play another college season, the Seattle Times reports.
- Meanwhile, Husky wide receivers Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan and Ja'Lynn Polk may depart early for the NFL draft, as could five other underclassmen, per the Times.
What's next: Probably a big raise for UW head coach Kalen DeBoer, who was recently named AP coach of the year.
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