Michigan football is red-hot after finishing back-to-back seasons with Big Ten championships and College Football Playoff appearances. With key contributors returning, such as Blake Corum and J.J. McCarthy, the Wolverines are slated to have another big season in 2023, perhaps making a third-straight return to the CFP.
Action Network unveils new CFP predictions and more
Action Network recently released their “Way-too-early” New Year’s Six bowl game predictions. For the 2023 season, the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will serve as the College Football Playoff Semifinal games.
— On3 (@On3sports) May 15, 2023
Action Network’s CFP predictions state that Michigan will play Florida State in the Rose Bowl, ranking Michigan football above conference rivals Ohio State and Penn State. Georgia and Washington were the other two teams predicted to make the playoffs via the Sugar Bowl.
Notably, Clemson and Alabama, the two most successful programs in modern playoff history, were left out of the College Football Playoff. Since the creation of the playoff in 2014, Clemson has made six appearances, while Alabama has made seven.
Despite Alabama’s reputation as a recruiting powerhouse and their consistent playoff appearances, national media believes that the loss of key starters, such as Bryce Young, will cause Alabama to miss the playoffs for the second straight year.
Media Shift Surrounding Michigan Football
Following the 2021 football season, Michigan fans had plenty to celebrate. Jim Harbaugh had finally beaten Ohio State (as a coach), won a Big Ten Championship, and made the College Football Playoff.
Entering 2022, Michigan was ranked seventh in the AP preseason poll. Despite losing to Michigan the previous year, Ohio State was ranked second. It was clear that the 2021 season was seen as a fluke, and the media wasn’t fully confident that Michigan was truly the better team.
We are 5 days away from Michigan-Ohio State.
Here are all 5 touchdowns scored by Hassan Haskins in The Game last year.
Just beat Ohio State. pic.twitter.com/w1PiSLGHDO
— Michael:Go Blue (@GO_BLUE_13) November 21, 2022
If beating Ohio State once wasn’t enough proof, beating them twice surely was. Now that Michigan football has demonstrated its ability to replicate its success from the 2021 season, the media is giving Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines the respect they deserve.
Michigan’s ranking above Ohio State signifies a shift in the tide for the program’s reputation; the Wolverines are no longer the underdogs they were in 2021 when they went from unranked to Big Ten champions. Jim Harbaugh will seek to replicate the success of the past two years as the Wolverines pursue a third consecutive national championship.
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