One Bowl to Rule Them All

01/03/2024 One Bowl to Rule Them All

By: Jeff Yoder

#1 Michigan & #2 Washington Win CFP Semifinals to Stay Perfect, Meet in National Championship Next Monday

A holiday break full of 42 bowl games has been completed, but one remains — the big one. There’s no more denying who the top-two teams in college football are. #1 Michigan and #2 Washington enter next Monday’s CFP National Championship undefeated and unscathed (both 14-0) after a pair of CFP semifinal thrillers on New Year’s Day. And despite Florida State’s claim of deserving a CFP spot, the Seminoles got rolled by 60 against Georgia. It was #3 Texas and #4 Alabama who slid into the CFP in the 11th hour, but it’s #1 Michigan and #2 Washington for all the marbles in Houston just five days from now. Let’s see how we got here.


CFP Semifinal Highlights


#1 Michigan def. #4 Alabama (27-20, OT)

The first CFP semifinal pitted two of college football’s most remarkable defenses at the Rose Bowl, and this was one of the best games of the year. Alabama and Michigan traded blows on the field after their decorated head coaches — Jim Harbaugh and Nick Saban — sidestepped drama in the press conferences. There were four lead changes and two ties in a contest that needed overtime. The Michigan defense held Alabama QB Jalen Milroe to just 116 yards passing. So, after Michigan struck first in the OT to take a 27-20 lead, the Crimson Tide put it in Milroe’s hands on the ground. His QB draw was stuffed on 4th down inside the 5, and the Wolverines are dancing into Houston. QB J.J. McCarthy (17/27, 221 yards, 3 TDs) was special, as well as RB Blake Corum (21 touches, 118 yards, 2 TDs). And despite recruiting violations and the sign-stealing scandal that kept Harbaugh off the sidelines for six games this season, Michigan has a shot at their first Natty since 1997.


#2 Washington def. #3 Texas (37-31)

The second CFP semifinal was more offense-heavy as the high-scoring Longhorns met the Huskies in the Sugar Bowl. Texas QB Quinn Ewers (24/43, 372 yards, 1 TD) went toe-to-toe with Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. (29/38, 461 yards, 2 TDs), but the Huskies were too much in the end. Texas matched Washington on the scoreboard three separate times (7s, 14s, 21s), but a third-quarter spurt saw the Huskies put up 13 unanswered (34-21). The Longhorns rallied with 10 points in the final frame to pull within six. They even got the ball back with 45 seconds left before marching into the red zone. A 4th-and-11 on the Washington 13-yard-line brought the final play, and the last pass of the game fell incomplete in the end zone. A wild ride to the finish ended with the Huskies earning a shot at their third ever national championship, and the first since 1991.


CFP National Championship Game

#1 Michigan vs. #2 Washington (Mon. 7:30 pm ET)


Read More

ESPN: CFP National Championship First Look: Michigan vs. Washington

SI: Connor Stalions Seen in Prime Seats for Michigan’s Rose Bowl Game

CBS Sports: Keys to How Washington And/Or Michigan Can Win CFP National Championship


Other Notable Bowl Game Highlights

#6 Georgia def. #5 Florida State (63-3)

#9 Missouri def. #7 Ohio State (14-3)

#8 Oregon def. #23 Liberty (45-6)

#11 Ole Miss def. #10 Penn State (38-25)

#14 Arizona def. #12 Oklahoma (38-24)

#13 LSU def. Wisconsin (35-31)

#16 Notre Dame def. #19 Oregon State (40-8)

#21 Tennessee def. #17 Iowa (35-0)


Read More

B/R: College Football Weekly Awards: NY6 & CFB Playoff Semifinals

ESPN: Georgia’s Kirby Smart Laments FSU Opt-Outs After UGA’s Orange Bowl Rout

Y! Sports: Oregon QB Bo Nix Sets Single-Season Completion Percentage Record in Fiesta Bowl Win


Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images