In what should be an all-time classic matchup, Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines aim for a National Championship this next week against the vaunted Washington Huskies. The latter is coming off a triumphant win against Texas in the CFP Semifinals, while Michigan was able to hold off Alabama in their classic semifinal battle. The Wolverines are led by savvy quarterback J.J. McCarthy threw for 2,630 yards and 19 touchdowns prior to the CFP starting this past week. Meanwhile, the Huskies have their own star at quarterback with Heisman runner-up Michael Penix leading the way (4,648 yards and 35 passing scores to just nine interceptions). Indeed both those squads have a lot to prove in what should be an excellent title game contest between the last two undefeated teams in college football.
For this report, SBS will be covering what to look for from each of the teams in the CFP National Championship, a predicted winner, and more notes about NCAAF wagering.
|2024 College Football Playoff National Championship
|Michigan vs. Washington
Lauded this season for its outstanding defense, the Wolverines have been bolstered this year by a resurgent offense with McCarthy and running back Blake Corum who was injured late last year. In addition to McCarthy, running back Blake Corum has paced the Michigan backfield with 1,028 rushing yards prior to the CFP along with an astounding 24 rushing scores. Moreover, the Wolverines have notched multiple ranked wins this season, going a perfect 9-0 in Big Ten Conference play along with an overall mark of 14-0. This includes victories over Penn State (10th), Ohio State (2nd), Iowa in the Big Ten title game (16th), and of course, then No. 4 ranked Alabama in the CFP semifinal. In a climactic showdown, the Wolverines were able to hold off the Tide, 27-20 in overtime, in a classic matchup to set up their launch into the CFP title game.
Of course, the mainstay calling card of Michigan has been the Wolverines’ defense. This year’s unit allowed a remarkable 9.5 points per game (ppg) during the regular season which was good for first in the country. Of course, the Wolverines’ defense has a ton of star power as well. This includes the likes of linebacker Junior Colson who leads the team in tackles (79) and has also chipped in with two passes defended this season. Defensive end Jaylen Harrell paces the Michigan defense with six-and-a-half sacks prior to the Playoffs and along with Michael Barrett (two sacks, three forced fumbles), provides a menacing attack for the Wolverines.
A defensive back, Mike Sainristil, is a player to watch as well – he has accrued five interceptions this year which is more than any other Michigan player, and is a cerebral presence for the Wolverines on defense. Indeed, coupled with an offense that has scored 36.7 ppg this season, Michigan has a ton of momentum heading into Houston.
Opposing the Wolverines will be Kalen Deboer’s Washington Huskies, a squad that won the hyper-competitive Pac-12 in triumphant fashion this season. Penix, the superb Washington signal-caller, held off the ferocious Pac-12 this year and has guided the Huskies to a sensational undefeated (14-0) campaign. His 85.7 QBR mark has set the team up for success and also dismantled most of the Huskies’ conference foes. Washington has been able to win all kinds of close games this year over ranked opponents with victories over Oregon (twice), USC, Utah, and Oregon State. The Huskies have done so with a balanced attack of offense (37.6 ppg, 11th in the country) and defense (allowing 23.6 ppg, good for 50th in the nation). While the defense has some holes, they have made the winning plays against high-level competition when it counts.
Running back Dillon Johnson is another player to watch out for as the Washington halfback accrued over 1,000 yards this season (1,162 rushing yards along with 16 rushing scores). Meanwhile, wideout Ja’Lynn Polk is a steady option for Penix with 1,122 receiving yards himself. However, the big play threat for the Huskies is wide receiver Rome Odunze who has scored 13 times this year and was a big factor in the CFP semifinal against Texas. Cornerback Dominique Hampton (98 tackles, six passes defended, two picks) is another must-watch player and has been a standout contributor for the Huskies defensive backfield. Indeed, the Washington defensive backs will have their work cut out for them against the Wolverines in what should be an electric affair which will leave one undefeated team standing.
Prediction: An excellent showcase game, take the Wolverines to outlast the Huskies in Houston for the National Championship.
After you are all squared away regarding your NCAAF title game selections, make sure to check out the wide array of resources for you at SBS. Of course, for even more news and information on the topic at hand, the college football betting sites guide is a must-bookmark page where you can find the latest news and notes related to college football. Moreover, for those looking to maximize their bets this year, make sure to check out our best bonus betting sites rundown where you can peruse a catalog of the different bonus offers. Finally, for those on the go, the best betting apps breakdown is a fantastic page to check out. Here you can learn more about the perks of mobile betting and how you can maximize your experience while on the go.