April 23, 2024

Michigan and Washington preparing to battle for all of the marbles

Michigan Wolverines, Washington Huskies, College Football National Championship Game

(Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

The day is finally here to crown a National Champion in Houston, and the entire 2023 season has come down to this blockbuster matchup between the undefeated Huskies and Wolverines.

This will be the first time since 2014 that the National Championship Game features a team from the Big Ten and Pac-12, and doesn’t include an SEC squad. Michigan’s last National Title was in 1997, and Washington’s was in 1991. However, Michigan had to share the hardware with Nebraska, and Washington had to share with Miami.

This time around there won’t be a debate though, and the winner of tonight’s clash will be 15-0 for the first time in program history. The Pac-12 has never had a National Title in the Playoff era, and it would be an amazing feat to accomplish that in its’ last year of relevance. Regardless of which team wins, it’s going to be beneficial for the Big Ten, considering the Wolverines are already a member, and the Huskies join next season.

Jim Harbaugh matching wits with Kalen DeBoer will be intriguing as it gets. Both teams are 14-0 and had amazing journeys to get to this point. There’s no denying Harbaugh’s 2023 campaign has been crazy. After all, he was suspended for the first and last three games of the regular season for a sign-stealing scandal. Harbaugh returned to the sidelines like he never left, and helped Michigan earn a shutout win over Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game, and downed Alabama in the Rose Bowl.

Now he has a chance to silence all of his critics by winning it all. The naysayers will still call Harbaugh a cheater no matter what, but Michigan fans could care less. He’s on the verge of bringing at National Title back to the winningest program in history, so it’s a big deal.

DeBoer is arguably Washington’s best coach since Don James. In just two seasons with the Huskies he has registered a 25-2 record, and has won a jaw-dropping, 21-straight games. DeBoer’s overall record speaks for itself. On top of that, he was named Coach of the Year by several outlets. Now DeBoer has an opportunity to put a notch in the belt for the Pac-12, and make a statement to the Big Ten.

Both teams have amazing quarterbacks that could potentially be top-10 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft. Michael Penix Jr., has been lighting up defenses all season long with his arm. Not to mention he has some weapons in his arsenal, including All-American wideout Rome Oduzne. Penix completed several NFL throws in the Sugar Bowl victory over Texas.

J.J. McCarthy knows Michigan’s offense like the back of his hand, operates it so smoothly. He was the Big Ten’s Quarterback of the Year, and always sets the tone in the huddle. McCarthy can hurt defenses with his arm and mobility, and when in doubt he can hand the ball off to All-American rusher Blake Corum. The running back has already broke the school record for rushing touchdowns, and scored twice in the win over the Crimson Tide.

Both teams have a different style of offense, but can put points on the scoreboard. Michigan is all about pounding the ball, controlling the clock and play-action pass. Meanwhile Washington loves to spread defenses out, and sling the ball all over the field. Which means something has to give in this matchup.

The Wolverines have the better defense, which will be the best the Huskies have faced all season. Special teams will be vital, and this game could very well come down to which offense has the ball last. Michigan is the favorite, but the Huskies have been thriving as underdogs all season long.

Michigan played in arguably the toughest division in all of College Football in the Big Ten East. The Pac-12 was the best conference in 2023, and will finish with a winning record this bowl season, regardless of this game’s outcome. Everyone is expecting a very entertaining game, unlike last year. This will also be an incredible way to end College Football as we know it, with expansion taking over for the 2024 season.