The National Championship is here and the No. 1 Michigan Wolverines will be on the field at NRG Stadium in Houston taking on the No. 2 Washington Huskies.
Michigan’s performance against Alabama was subpar, especially when it came to special teams. Even so, the Wolverines prevailed following an exciting overtime conclusion. It seems like they would have won the game easily if they hadn’t made the blunders.
In the Sugar Bowl, however, Washington never fell behind Texas. With many attempts at the end zone in the closing seconds of the game, the Longhorns created quite an intriguing finish. However, Michael Penix Jr. heated up quickly and never let up, finishing 29 of 38 throws for 430 yards. He presents the Wolverines with their greatest quarterbacking challenge to date.Though they may be made of maize and blue glasses, the Wolverines appear to benefit from the way these two compare. This season, Washington’s defense has given up 404.1 yards per game and is rated 44th on SP+. That is ranked 94th overall in defense. They are 41st in the nation in the run game, which is somewhat better than their opponents, who give up 267.1 passing yards per game, which is 120th in college football.Prior to Washington pushing Texas’ defense to 11th place following a subpar showing in the Sugar Bowl, the unit was ranked among the top 10 defenses by SP+ last week. The Longhorns struggled all season against teams that could throw the ball: Will Howard of Kansas State took Texas to overtime with 327 yards and four touchdowns from the air; Dillon Gabriel of Oklahoma ran for another 113 yards and two touchdowns from the air; and Donovan Smith of Houston nearly pulled off an upset with 378 yards and three touchdowns from the airTo be fair, Michigan hasn’t faced a quarterback with Penix’s arm this season either. He can lob the ball far down the field to a variety of weapons. Rome Odunze stands out the most with 87 receptions for 1,553 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. The opponent facing Will Johnson will be his second-toughest of the season, with Marvin Harrison Jr. being the most difficult. Washington has a dangerous quarterback who can hit him with precision passes, unlike Ohio State..
The No. 4 offense per SP+ will be a test for this Michigan defense. The next-highest it has encountered this season is Alabama’s, which came in at No. 11 in the Rose Bowl.
The health of running back Dillon Johnson will be crucial to the Washington attack. He had an impact at the end of the season, scoring three touchdowns on the ground in the final six games. The top rusher for the Huskies, who has been out for the majority of the season, scored two touchdowns against Texas before re-injuring his foot late in the fourth quarter. He seems to be planning to test it out in the national championship game; who knows how successful he will end up being, but withoutIn my opinion, the Wolverines are the better well-rounded football team in the end. With continuous ground ball movement, this offensive line ought to be able to intimidate Washington. If the Wolverines maintain their long drive and prevent Penix Jr. from getting the ball, I believe Blake Corum might have a great day. I believe Michigan wins if it plays to its strengths and avoids turning this into a shootout. At -4.5, I’ll take the Wolverines.