Advertisement

College Football Playoff: Alabama-Michigan, Texas-Washington highlight New Year's Day

Quarterback J.J. McCarthy (L) and running back Blake Corum will lead the No. 1 Michigan Wolverines' offense against No. 4 Alabama on Monday in the Rose Bowl. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
1 of 7 | Quarterback J.J. McCarthy (L) and running back Blake Corum will lead the No. 1 Michigan Wolverines' offense against No. 4 Alabama on Monday in the Rose Bowl. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Alabama will face Michigan in the first of two College Football Playoff semifinals Monday night in Pasadena, Calif. Texas will then meet Washington in the playoff finale, setting the title game.

The controversy is now cleared after fans simmered about their teams that didn't clinch final spots in the final Top 4 of the College Football Playoff rankings. Alabama-Michigan and Washington-Texas now will decide who meets Jan. 8 in the title game.

Advertisement

All College Football Playoff games will air on ESPN.

The No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) will face the No. 1 Michigan Wolverines (13-0) in the Rose Bowl Game at 5 p.m. EST Monday at Rose Bowl Stadium.

The No. 3 Texas Longhorns (12-1) will plays the No. 2 Washington Huskies (13-0) in the Sugar Bowl at 8:45 p.m. in New Orleans.

The Wolverines and Longhorns are expected to advance.

Advertisement

Alabama is looking to clinch a spot in the title game for the seventh time in nine years. Michigan, Washington and Texas will try to clinch a spot in the College Football Playoff finale for the first time.

Matchups

The semifinal games will feature an abundance of potential NFL talent, with more than two-dozen elite prospects expected to play.

The Crimson Tide, who will make their eighth semifinal appearance in 10 years, went 6-1 in those games. They are attempting to win their fourth title in the College Football Playoff era.

Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe leads the offense. He passes for 2,718 yards and 23 passing scores, while completing 65.5% of his throws and scoring 12 rushing touchdowns this season.

Offensive tackle J.C. Latham, wide receiver Jermaine Burton, edge rushers Dallas Turner and Chris Braswell, and cornerbacks Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold are among the top NFL prospects on the Alabama roster.

The Crimson Tide have the No. 16 scoring defense this season and ranked 12th in sacks.

On the other side of that matchup, the Wolverines' roster also is flooded with talent. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy was among the most efficient players in the country this season, completing 74.2% of his throws, the second-best rate. He also threw for 2,630 yards and 19 scores.

Advertisement

Running back Blake Curom scored a national-best 24 rushing touchdowns for the Wolverines. Defensive lineman Kris Jenkins and cornerback Mike Sainristil are among the Wolverines' other top players.

While they have talent on offense, the Wolverines again are led by their defense this season. They have the No. 1 scoring defense, No. 2 total defense, rank No. 2 in fewest first downs allowed and are the least penalized team in college football.

The Wolverines have the No. 2 pass defense and No. 5 run defense. They also rank No. 14 in scoring offense and have the second-best turnover margin.

Second game

Monday's nightcap will feature one of the top quarterbacks in the country, with Michael Penix Jr. leading the Huskies against the Longhorns.

Penix, the 2023 Heisman Trophy runner-up, leads the nation with 4,218 passing yards. His 33 passing scores are tied for the third-most. Penix completed 65.9% of his throws for the Huskies.

Wide receiver Rome Odunze is expected to be his top target against the Longhorns. Odunze, a fellow top draft prospect, totaled 1,428 receiving yards so far this season. Huskies running back Dillon Johnson, who totaled 1,113 rushing yards and 14 scores in the regular season, will be another player to watch.

Advertisement

The Huskies' passing offense is ranked No. 1 in the country. They also rank No. 11 in scoring offense.

Offensive lineman Troy Fautanu, cornerback Jabbar Muhammad, edge rushers Bralen Trice and Zion Tupuola-Fetui and wide receivers Ja'Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan are among other star Huskies.

Quarterback Quinn Ewers, who threw for 3,161 yards and 21 touchdowns while completing 70.7% of passes, will lead the Longhorns. Wide receivers Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy, defensive linemen T'Vondre Sweat and DL Byron Murphy II and tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders also should factor into this matchup.

The Longhorns rank No. 9 in total offense and No. 17 in scoring offense. They have the No. 3 run defense and rank No. 13 in scoring defense.

Interceptions also could play a role in the semifinals. The Huskies, Wolverines and Longhorns hauled in 16 apiece in the regular season, the eighth most in the country.

Schedule

Monday

Rose Bowl Game: No. 4 Alabama (12-1) vs. No. 1 Michigan (13-0) 5 p.m. on ESPN

Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Texas (12-1) vs. No. 2 Washington (13-0) at 8:45 p.m. on ESPN

Jan. 8

College Football Playoff title game at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 8 on ESPN

Latest Headlines