No. 1 Michigan and No. 2 Washington will meet in the CFP championship
The GIST: Monday’s College Football Playoff (CFP) games delivered the best semifinals in its 10-year history, officially dethroning the Pop-Tart Bowl celebration as the highlight of bowl season. Both of the back-to-back instant classics came down to the final nail-biting play. Welcome to college football at its finest.
No. 1 Michigan beats No. 4 Alabama 27–20 in the Rose Bowl: This wire-to-wire thriller saw two behemoths trading blows into overtime. Ultimately, the Wolverines maintained their poise better than Bama: Michigan star running back Blake Corum easily plowed in the go-ahead touchdown, and Alabama’s response fell short thanks to a boneheaded final play call.
No. 2 Washington holds off No. 3 Texas in the Sugar Bowl: The Huskies dominated until the literal last minute, when Texas nearly bagged the comeback of the year in the final 69 seconds. Washington quarterback (QB) Michael Penix Jr. had an unreal game, but MVP honors go to cornerback Elijah Jackson, whose stunning save sealed the 37–31 Huskie dub.
Zooming out: Outside of the battles to make Monday’s natty, a debate about non–CFP bowl games’ meaning raged, stoked by No. 6 Georgia’s 63–3 evisceration of No. 5 Florida State in Saturday’s Orange Bowl. These squads’ vastly different responses to their CFP snubs — Georgia played at nearly full strength, while 29 opt-outs devastated FSU’s roster — essentially decided the game before kickoff.
- The uneven scoreline drew criticism of opt-out culture, where top players often skip non-CFP bowl games to avoid injury before entering the transfer portal or NFL Draft. Even Georgia head coach (HC) Kirby Smart said the trend is ruining the postseason.