Michigan is leading, and most responses are favorable.
The Michigan Wolverines defeated the Washington Huskies 34–13 on Monday to claim the title of national champions.
Only a few weeks prior, Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines were being maligned by the national media for allegedly being cheaters, claiming that their recent success was tainted and that they had no business being in the College Football Playoffs. But this team kept winning, and all of a sudden, POOF, people’s perceptions were altered.
Here’s a brief summary of what the national media is saying about the Michigan Wolverines following their championship victory:
First up is ESPN and none other than the biggest Michigan hater, Paul Finebaum. We were all so shocked when the man actually acknowledged he was mistaken on Tuesday that we had to do a stand-alone story here at Maize n Brew:
Next up is Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, who at the start of the season picked the Wolverines to win it all. She was nevertheless pleased with the team’s performance on Monday, as they defeated Washington without using a plan nearly as explosive:
“It’s not always the case that a team’s best players perform at their peak when it matters most. The nation’s best offense appeared rather mediocre on Monday night as Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. faltered on passes that he had completed with ease just a week prior. Even with the greatest amount of confidence or preparation, it’s harder than it sounds.
This Michigan squad wasn’t always impressive. It wasn’t very showy very often. However, these stars were the ones who shone the brightest when the lights turned on and the camera started.
Many continue to wonder if Michigan’s victories—including this national championship—will be nullified in light of the sign-stealing scandal’s findings. Dennis Dodd, though, at CBS Sports, is not interested in getting involved.
“Vacated triumphs? Nothing you see on the field can be taken away. Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards became the first two running backs in CFP National Championship history to score more than 100 yards on the ground. The Wolverines’ 303 rushing yards were the most on the ground by a national championship winner in the BCS/CFP era (since 1998), in addition to being more than the Huskies’ total yardage in the game (301). In the meantime, Michigan’s 15-game winning streak prevented any team from scoring more than 24 points, holding Washington’s highly effective passing offense to its lowest point total of the year.
Despite picking against Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines in nearly every game he could have on College Gameday (Washington, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio State, Rutgers, etc.), the current king of the sports talk industry, Pat McAfee, praised Harbaugh and the team:
Along with the Wolverines’ defense, Kirk Herbstreit joined McAfee’s show on Tuesday and complimented them for limiting Penix Jr. to 255 passing yards and two interceptions on more than 50 attempts.
Stewart Mandel of The Athletic, who has been publicly critical of Michigan since the sign-stealing controversy surfaced, was forced to retract his remarks in his most recent column:
“We hereby declare Michigan the overwhelming winner in the months-long Michigan vs. Everyone case.
“This season, the Wolverines overcame all opponents who attempted to stop them, including Penn State, Ohio State, the NCAA, Tony Petitti, Alabama, and the Washington Huskies. In order to complete a 15-0 season, they defeated Michael Penix Jr., the Sugar Bowl sensation and Heisman runner-up, by a wide margin.
“Truly, hail the victorious!”
However, later in the article, he had to take a shot at Harbaugh and the program.
“I think it’s unsettling that the team that ended up winning the championship is the subject of two NCAA investigations and whose coach was suspended for 40% of the team’s play. It was also rather nauseating that the coach in question had the gall to comment afterwards, “Off-the-field issues? We are not guilty. We were confident in our innocence, so we stood tall and proud. Nothing is more stereotypically “innocent” than launching a contentious lawsuit and then abruptly dropping it a week later due to new information.
However, to claim that the Wolverines didn’t deserve their rings would be untrue.
Joel Klatt, who has called multiple Michigan games alongside Gus Johnson on Big Noon Kickoff in recent years, will wrap things up. He has always thought highly of the way Harbaugh has led the Wolverines to play: