Do we really need a 12-team College Football Playoff in the coming years? It sort of feels like this four-team setup is pretty damn good. We got plenty of drama when the CFP committee huddled post-Conference Championship Weekend to figure out the NCAA football version of the Final Four. Florida State cried about not getting in, only to get walloped 63-3 by two-time reigning national champ Georgia in the Orange Bowl.
The NCAA is one of the flat-out worst institutions in sports. Nobody disputes this. Let’s judge the College Football Playoff committee separately, though, because they f*cking nailed it. You want the best games possible, with the best, most logical teams in action. While Georgia did have a case, I’d be lying if I said I wanted to see them over either Texas or Washington. It was nice to have some fresh blood. And oh boy, did New Year’s Day 2024 deliver the goods.
How about the iconic venue of the Rose Bowl playing host to a Michigan comeback for the ages to force overtime and win? And how about the Longhorns giving the Huskies a serious scare when it seemed like the Sugar Bowl was out of reach?
A screenshot right before the last play of each College Football Playoff game…
Could you ask for anything cooler? Oh and by the way, Jim Harbaugh dealt with the sign-stealing scandal, multiple suspensions he had to serve, six straight bowl/postseason losses coming in and the rampant speculation that he’s bolting for the NFL regardless of how Michigan finished. Facing the best college coach to ever do it in Nick Saban, whose Bama team was playing with house money. WOW. What a freaking win for Harbaugh.
How’s this for a little added history? Thanks Schefty, you Michigan Man, you.
Twenty four years ago tonight, Tom Brady led Michigan to a 35-34 overtime win over Alabama.
Twenty-four years later, Blake Corum leads Michigan to a 27-20 overtime win over Alabama.
But I could argue the next game was even better. Because in terms of actual quality football, it was. Look no further than Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. as the sole reason for that. Holy sh*t. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone in the history of the sport put on that good of a performance on that big of a stage at the collegiate level.
That southpaw bow and arrow was slinging it all over the yard on the hapless Longhorns secondary.
Penix has dealt with so many injuries throughout his lengthy college career, yet he was showing off his wheels in addition to throwing for well over 400 yards. It certainly helps to have the likes of Rome Odunze, Ja’Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan in your receiving corps, not to mention an o-line good enough to hold up for some of those downfield routes. More often than not, though, Penix’s pocket presence and lightning-quick release bested even the better of Texas’ pass rushes.
The Huskies offense was rolling, although it sucks that their running back, Dillon Johnson, went down with an injury late and may not be available for the grand finale. Anyway, the counterpunches from Penix’s counterpart, Quinn Ewers, was just too little, too late. Ewers made major strides this year. Just ran into a determined Washington team with a far more experienced field general who was not going to be denied. I feel like the Longhorns QB will come back next season, eager to redeem himself for a slow start that, along with costly non-Ewers fumbles, cost Texas a shot at a national title.
Meanwhile, the QB conversation in the 2024 NFL Draft has revolved mostly around Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Heisman winner Jayden Daniels as the consensus top-three. The only real red flag with Penix is his injury history. If we’re talking pure throwing power, accuracy/ball placement, football IQ, pocket presence and intangibles, Penix has an argument as being better than all those dudes in all those categories.
NFL decision-makers who haven't seen Michael Penix Jr. throw in-person yet will be blown away in Mobile. As good as he looks on TV and tape, it's different when you're down on the field with him.
Now that Penix has shown off better running ability than expected, his draft stock should be through the roof. To me, he’s easily in the first round as of now, whereas before it was more of an early second round vibe.
Even if you watched the game and saw what Penix did, I think you need to watch it again. Report back to me if you can. I just want to be sure this actually happened. I’m still stunned. The amount of absurd, “THE AUDACITY TO EVEN ATTEMPT THAT!” throws Penix made…I lost count after a while. Bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
OK fine here’s Michigan-Alabama, but I’d advise you to skip to near the end. Pretty bad ball for most of the first three quarters. If you’re a sicko, dig in on the Wolverines’ special teams ineptitude and the Crimson Tide’s baffling first-half offensive game plan if you like.
So thank you, CFP committee. Ya done well — and the vast majority of America recognizes your distinguished service!