A pair of future conference-mates will clash in the final College Football Playoff National Championship of the four-team era. No. 1 Michigan and No. 2 Washington will square off on Monday in Houston, Texas, and the winner will emerge as the last undefeated team standing in the FBS ranks while bringing home the first college football national title for their school of the CFP or BCS era.
Michigan last won the national championship in 1997, the year before the BCS system went into effect, while Washington’s last title came in 1991. This season, the Wolverines and Huskies used contrasting styles while running the table through their respective conferences and squeaking out close CFP semifinal victories. Michigan’s nasty defense pitted against Washington’s elite passing attack makes for a compelling final game of the 2023 season as we bid this era of college football farewell and welcome in the 12-team CFP era amid substantial conference realignment in 2024.
What should you expect in Houston on Monday night? Let’s break down the game and make picks straight up and against the spread.
Michigan vs. Washington: Need to know
Michael Penix Jr. the superstar: The most important player in this game is Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. The sixth-year senior is 25-2 in two seasons as Huskies starter after a promising-but-injury-plagued run at Indiana over four seasons. While with the Hoosiers, Penix played under second-year Washington coach Kalen DeBoer, who was then serving as Indiana offensive coordinator. The two reunited at UW in 2022, and the results have been spectacular. Penix has surpassed 4,600 yards passing each of the past two years and finished second in Heisman Trophy voting this season. A precisely accurate left-handed thrower, Penix…