CFP championship 2024: How to watch Michigan vs Washington title game

ByBen Morse, CNN, CNNWire
Monday, January 8, 2024
6abc Philadelphia 24/7 Live Stream
Action News, AccuWeather and Entertainment

HOUSTON -- It is the culmination of the college football season with the opportunity to etch names into eternity and cement legacies forever.

Monday's College Football Playoff National Championship game will see the Michigan Wolverines face the Washington Huskies in Houston.

The two schools have been the best teams in college football this season and have the opportunity to crown their campaigns with the ultimate prize.

Here's everything you need to know about the College Football Playoff National Championship title game.

How to watch

No. 1 Michigan will play No. 2 Washington in the title game on Monday, January 8, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET from the home of the NFL's Houston Texans.

The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

Michigan Wolverines (14-0)

It's been a memorable season for Michigan, both for the on-field action and the controversies surrounding the team.

Behind the brilliance of head coach Jim Harbaugh and the blossoming of quarterback JJ McCarthy into a star, the Wolverines finished with an undefeated record of 14-0 and as the highest ranked team in the country.

However, despite its excellent regular season, the team faced a fierce battle to reach the National Championship game during a thrilling encounter with the fourth-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl.

The teams were locked at 20-20 after regulation, meaning the 'Granddaddy of Them All' went to overtime for just the second time in 110 editions of the game.

But Blake Corum's 17-yard rushing touchdown on just the second snap of OT sealed the victory for Michigan to book its spot in the title game.

RELATED: CFB Player Rank: Top 100 players of the 2023 season

Michigan, which became the first college football program to reach 1,000 all-time wins earlier this season and is the winningest program in college football history, will seek its first national championship since 1997, when the Wolverines shared the title with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

The NCAA credits Michigan with nine football championships, while Michigan claims 11. The 1932 and 1947 titles which Michigan counts as winning are not recognized by the NCAA.

Harbaugh says that he, his coaching staff and the Michigan players have learned from what he calls "the U's" over recent years, leading to this year's success.

"Some of the uncontrollables, some of the unfortunates, uncontrollables like officiating," he told reporters. "I thought some of the ways our guys kept their composure were - that's a way to control the uncontrollable situations.

"Another 'U', unanimous support from everybody on the team. When you know that each player, each coach has your back and is going to be doing their job, doing it to the best of their God-given ability, that's a great way to control some of the uncontrollables, which is pressure, which is some of those unforeseeable moments.

"Yeah, there's ways to do it, and our team is built for them. They're really built for those U's, the uncontrollables, the unfortunates, things like that."

A victory on Monday would be the crowning moment in a season filled with plenty of questions surrounding the team throughout the season.

Harbaugh was suspended for the team's first three games, a self-imposed sanction by Michigan's athletics department because of NCAA recruiting violations. The NCAA, which has an open investigation into the matter, could potentially choose to add further penalties in that case.

The NCAA opened a second investigation into the Wolverines in October for alleged sign-stealing, leading to the suspension and subsequent resignation of Michigan football analyst Connor Stalions and the firing of linebackers coach Chris Partidge.

Harbaugh has denied knowledge of any scheme to steal other teams' signs, but accepted a three-game suspension - upping his total games away from the Michigan sideline to six.

Both NCAA investigations into Michigan remain ongoing.

Washington Huskies (14-0)

The Wolverines will be facing another undefeated team in the title game in the form of the Washington Huskies.

The second ranked Huskies (14-0) beat the Texas Longhorns 37-31 in the Sugar Bowl to advance to the season finale after another excellent performance from quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

The Heisman Trophy finalist, who led the nation in passing, completed 29-of-38 pass attempts and finished with 430 passing yards and two touchdown passes in the game. His 430 yards are the second-most ever in a College Football Playoff semifinal, behind Joe Burrow's 493 yards in 2019.

Penix Jr. has enjoyed a remarkable season, with the sixth-year quarterback - he suffered three season-ending injuries during his first four years in college football with Indiana and has two surgically repaired knees - exploding as a potential first round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

He became the first college quarterback to throw for 4,500 yards in back-to-back seasons since Patrick Mahomes did so at Texas Tech in 2015 and 2016, per ESPN.

ALSO SEE: Washington jumps FSU as top three in CFP rankings unchanged

The 23-year-old credits Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer with masterminding the team's extraordinary 2023 run, but also says the team's camaraderie is another key reason for its success on the field.

"I would say the biggest thing is just the bond, the connection that we have within the team, and I feel like this team, we truly have love for each other, and we want to see each other do great," Penix Jr. told reporters.

"That's the big thing, just having a lot of guys on a great team that are unselfish and always excited to see their brothers winning and doing great in their positions.

"Obviously, all the stuff that we've been through, just all our offseason grind and workouts and everything that we've been through to get to this point, that allowed us to get here. It definitely took a lot to get here. It didn't just happen overnight. The process been going on these past two years, so we've been blessed."

DeBoer himself puts Penix Jr.'s rise - he finished second in this year's Heisman Trophy voting - down to his willingness to work and his humble nature.

"He's got a skill set that is - I think it makes him the best player in the country," he told reporters. "The production I think is what certainly helps with people buying into him, and then combine that with just a personality that's fun to be around.

"He's as low ego as it gets. It's all about the team. Everyone hears that publicly when he talks, but it is 100% real. It is what we see every single day.

"There are things he's doing for his teammates that he could care less if it got out there in the public. It's all about just loving the moment he's in, wanting this to be a special time for everyone that's around him.

"He has a lot of trust in people. Once you really become loyal to him, he will do anything for you. That's gone both ways on our team, both he to the team and the team to him.

"He's not afraid to get out front and center and give a hard talk, and you can realize pretty quickly how competitive he is and how bad he wants to win a national championship and that he really believed when he came back that we could be in this moment.

"Then lastly, his work supported everything that were his goals all season long. Had a full offseason to really train, a full offseason to work individually to improve, to work with his receivers. He would challenge everyone on this football team to be the best that they can be all the time."

The team will compete for the program's first national championship title since 1991, when the Huskies shared the title with the Miami Hurricanes. The NCAA credits Washington with one national football championship, though the school claims two national championships: 1960 and 1991.

It is also Washington's last opportunity to win the national title as part of the Pac-12 Conference as it is one of 10 schools leaving the conference for other Power Five conferences next year, with the Huskies headed to join Michigan in the Big Ten.

(The-CNN-Wire & 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.)