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Who Will Take the Crown? A Look Ahead at the 2024 National Championship Finals

Updated: Jan 12

Today is the day of the biggest game of the College Football season, the national championship between Washington and Michigan. This is the first Natty appearance for both teams in the CFP era, and this matchup of undefeated teams looks to be one of the best games of the year. These two teams both are coming off thrilling wins in the semifinal on New Year's Day. Here is a full breakdown of each team while you eat your lunch and wait on the big game.

Michigan Key Players

  • RB Blake Corum (#2)

  • C Drake Nugent (#60)

  • LBs Junior Colson and Michael Barrett (#23 and #25)

Michigan Keys to Win

  • Don't force the running game

  • Limit Obvious Passing Downs

  • Create time for McCarthy in the pocket

Washington Key Players

  • QB Michael Penix Jr. (#9)

  • WR Rome Odunze (#1)

  • Edge Bralen Trice (#8)

Washington Keys to Win

  • Let Penix Cook

  • Keep McCarthy under pressure

  • Control the tempo

Both of these teams are immensely talented, and on the Michigan side, they are loaded in the trenches, their Offensive line is led by Center Drake Nugent and Right Tackle Trente Jones. They also have Blake Corum, who was Michigan's savior in the Rose Bowl (broke UM's single season TD record at 25 behind a 118-yard, 2 TD performance) and will look to be the workhorse back again tonight, as Michigan's running game will have to lead the way for their offense if they want to win. JJ McCarthy isn't a bad QB by any means, but he certainly isn't good enough for me to trust him against an elite defense that's going to keep him under pressure (especially as quick as Washington can) so I can see JJ limiting UM's Offense. Michigan's defense is very impressive which is partly due to how deep they are (they have 8 DL and 3 LBs play over 200 snaps this year and just about all of them are good pass rushers), they also have one of the best versatile DBs in the nation in Mike Sainristil, and Will Johnson is a lockdown corner even as a sophomore. they run a very fun front as well and DC Jesse Minter did a great job in the rose bowl of simulating pressure and scheming guys open in the pass rush. Michigan's special teams unit almost cost them a birth to the natty, and if they have a similar performance to the previous game, the third part of the game could cost the Wolverines their first ring in the CFP Era.

On the Washington side, they are led by the best QB in COLLEGE FOOTBALL (He's QB3 in the NFL Draft by my book) in Michael Penix Jr, who I need to (and will) write a scouting report on but he has a great combination of strength, accuracy, anticipation, and he just refuses to get sacked (he has been sacked 30 times in 1706 career dropbacks and has only been sacked 11 times this year which is just phenomenal) with one of the prettiest deep balls I've seen in a smooth minute. This Washington Offense also has one of the best WR groups in the nation, in Rome Odunze, Ja'Lynn Polk, and Jalen McMillan. Dillon Johnson is also one of the better Rbs in the nation, and Washington's OL is led by their strong tackle play. Expect Washington to throw the ball a good bit, and expect them to push the ball deep down field (MPJ has thrown the ball at least 20 yards on over a fifth of his passes), and expect alot more true pass sets than from Michigan. On the defensive end, Washington isn't quite on the level of Michigan's, but they still have a formidable defense, with plenty of talent, and even a few prospects for the upcoming draft that makes for a pretty solid defense.

What to Expect?

This game should be very competitive, especially early on. I expect some good defense on both ends, but I see an offensive masterclass from Washington and Michael Penix Jr. This should be one of the better Natty games of the CFP era, but I do expect Washington to win this game, just due to the sheer firepower of this passing attack, it honestly just isn't fair.

Score Prediction: Washington 31 Michigan 21

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