Michigan Football: National Championship Preview and Prediction

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The Michigan Wolverines are playing for a national championship. That is a beautiful sentence. The Wolverines took down Alabama 27-20 in what was an all time classic Rose Bowl game. Now, they'll be facing a Washington team with a very dynamic offense.

The Huskies are led by Heisman runner up and former Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. Penix is an incredibly accurate quarterback who is tremendous at finding open receivers. Although, his weapons make it pretty easy for him. The Huskies have a plethora of talent at the skill positions, and it all starts with Rome Odunze. Odunze is a top 10 NFL prospect and is up there with Marvin Harrison Jr as the best wide receivers in the country.

Next to him, the Huskies have two very good receivers in sophomore Ja'Lynn Polk and junior Jalen McMillan. Washington has an excellent running back in Dillon Johnson, but he was carted off the field against Texas in the semi finals and his status is unknown. If he does play, he'll surely be less than 100 percent.

So how is this game going to go? Let's break it down, starting with when the Huskies are on offense.

It's going to be scary every time Washington has the football. They're an extremely explosive offense that can put up points quick. The key for Michigan is to make them earn everything. Limit their touchdowns and don't give up the big plays. If Michigan makes Washington run 15 plays to score, things are going to look good for the maize and blue.

Michael Penix lit up the Texas secondary for 430 yards and two touchdowns. Luckily for Michigan football fans, Texas does not have a good secondary. Michigan has a great secondary. The matchup of the night is going to be Washington's wide receivers versus Michigan's secondary. Whoever wins that matchup is going to be in good shape.

Will Johnson was able to hold his own against Marvin Harrison Jr and completely shut down Jermaine Burton last week against Alabama. There's no doubt in my mind that he's going to follow Rome Odunze around all night long. This is going to be two first round picks battling all night long, and it should be cinematic.

I expect that the Huskies are going to try to pick on Josh Wallace. We didn't see Wallace get much action against Alabama, but a lot of that can be attribtued to the elite pass rush we saw. Which brings me to my next point, pass rush.

The Huskies are very good at preventing sacks. Their offensive line won the Joe Moore award this season, and Penix has been sacked only 11 times. A good amount of their success, however, is because Penix is so quick with his decisions and getting the ball out. It's very hard to sack Michael Penix, because he doesn't have the ball for that long. He is very different than Jalen Milroe in that aspect.

It's going to be very important that Michigan football disrupts Penix from the inside. Mason Graham, Kris Jenkins, and Kenneth Grant must apply pressure and make Penix uncomfortable. They might not get any sacks, but they need to disrupt Penix and prevent him from getting in rhythm. This is the best secondary that Washington has faced, so there should be more time for the pass rush to get home. It needs to.

Ultimately, Michigan needs to be stout in the red zone. It's inevitable that Washington is going to push the ball down the field. I highly doubt we're going to see a bunch of three and outs from the Huskies. Michigan's best path to victory, in my opinion, is to hold the Huskies to field goals in the red zone, similar to how they beat Ohio State in 2021.

In that game, CJ Stroud threw for nearly 400 yards and two touchdowns, with zero interceptions. Yet the Buckeyes scored only 27 points. That's because of Michigan's bend don't break approach. That's going to need to be the case against Washington.

This is the best offense in the country, and because of that, the Huskies have the advantage here. This will be the best defense the Huskies have faced, however, so I definitely expect them to be slowed down.

Now, when Michigan has the ball.