[[HERE'S>>LIVE!]]National Championship Game 2024 Live Streaming Online Free today 08/01/2024
How to watch Washington vs. Michigan: Free live stream, time, TV, channel for College Football National Championship (1/8/24)
How to watch national championship 2024
Game: 2024 College Football Playoff National Championship
Date: Monday, Jan. 8 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: NRG Stadium -- Houston, Texas
No. 1 Michigan battles No. 2 Washington on Monday in the College Football Playoff National Championship from NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. This title game has a different feel than those in years past, namely because neither team has made it this far yet despite being included in past fields. This is also the first national title game without an SEC team since the CFP's inception in 2014.
Michigan and Washington have also taken entirely different approaches to Monday's seismic clash. The Wolverines are in their ninth year under coach Jim Harbaugh, with this being their third straight College Football Playoff appearance. Michigan failed to make it out of the semifinals in each of its first two years, losing by a combined score of 85-56.
Washington's ascension under coach Kalen DeBoer feels almost immediate by comparison. He led the Huskies to 11 wins in 2022 -- his first year with the program -- and guided them to their first undefeated regular season since 1991 and a Pac-12 championship to secure a playoff return. The Huskies made it previously under former coach Chris Petersen in 2016.
This is also a rare national title matchup in that both teams rank outside the top 10 of the 247Sports Team Talent Composite. Michigan sits at 14th, while Washington is 12 spots behind at 26th -- a testament to the ability of both staffs to identify and develop talent both through high school and transfer portal recruiting.
Michigan vs. Washington: Alternate viewing options
Field Pass with Pat McAfee Show -- ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free)
Command Center -- ESPNU, fuboTV (Try for free)
Skycast -- ESPNEWS, fuboTV (Try for free)
All-22, hometown radio feeds, halftime band performances and more available via ESPN's app
Michigan vs. Washington storylines
Michigan: It's taken Michigan a while to build to this point, and the Wolverines have taken their fair share of lumps along the way. Harbaugh's squad couldn't even break through in its own conference consistently until 2021 when a big win against Ohio State got the ball rolling on its current run. That sent UM to its first of three straight Big Ten titles with College Football Playoff appearances following each. Even then, the Wolverines couldn't climb to the tippy-top of the mountain. They were blown out by Georgia in 2021 and lost to TCU last year in what stands as the largest upset in CFP history.
Then, with the program continuing its steady march, it looked as if the wheels might fall off this season. Michigan self-imposed a three-game suspension for Harbaugh in an attempt to soften the blow from an NCAA investigation into recruiting violations committed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, shortly after Harbaugh returned, news broke of an alleged sign-stealing and advanced scouting scheme run by a now former staffer, causing the Big Ten to crack down on Michigan and suspend Harbaugh through the final three games of the year. Through it all, the Wolverines stayed together, which is a testament to the team culture that's steadily grown through the years. That culture now might lead Michigan to its first national championship since 1997.
Washington: People will throw the word "physicality" around a lot in the days leading up to Monday's clash, and a lot of the focus will be on Michigan and its punishing style of football. The Wolverines play in the Big Ten, where teams still employ a fullback and run the ball from the I-formation. While Washington's newfangled offense is filled with glitz and glamour, the Huskies have what it takes to get down in the trenches. It starts with a Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line. UW allowed just 11 sacks all year, which amounts to less than one per game. For those that still believe Pac-12 competition is dubious for whatever reason, Washington just held a Texas defensive line that boasts a pair of potential first-round NFL Draft picks in Byron Murphy and T'Vondre Sweat without a single sack or quarterback hurry.
By comparison, Washington's defensive front pushed Texas around with two sacks, five tackles for loss and three quarterback hurries. Huskies EDGE Bralen Trice is arguably the most talented pass rusher in Monday's game. He has 16 sacks over the past two years and has earned back-to-back All-Pac 12 first-team honors as a result. Behind him, run-stuffing linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio was named a Butkus Award finalist after a season in which he logged 90 total tackles, eight for a loss, and three sacks. There's plenty of evidence to suggest that Washington can more than hold its own at the point of attack, though prevailing narratives might suggest otherwise.
Michigan vs. Washington prediction, pick
Washington has one very significant edge in this game, and his name is Michael Penix Jr. While Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy has a bright future with plenty of potential, Penix is as close is it comes to a finished product. He can make throws at all levels of the field, and he might be a better tight-window passer than any of his peers. Penix has a much better supporting cast with wideouts Rome Odunze -- a CBS Sports All-American -- Jalen McMillan and Ja'Lynn Polk, breakout running back Dillon Johnson and reliable tight end Jack Westover. The Huskies are also talented enough to make stops on defense and pull this one out, though it should be tight. Pick: Washington +4.5 | Washington 35, Michigan 31
If the old boxing saying of "styles make fights" holds true, then the College Football Playoff championship bout between Michigan and Washington should be a doozy.
Led by Heisman Trophy finalist Michael Penix Jr., Washington brings one of the most explosive offenses in the country to the field. The Huskies are a top-10 team in terms of both yards and points per game this season, and they rank first overall in passing yards per game.
Michigan owns the most dominant defense in the nation. The Wolverines are at or near the top of every major statistical defensive category, including yards and points per game allowed.
What will happen when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object?
This will be the first national champion north of Ohio since 1997. Is this a sign of the CFB landscape leveling out across the country where the South is no longer dominant due to its recruiting footprint because of the allure of NIL dollars to move north or just one good year for a few northern schools? – Brad M.
There are a few things at play, including the impact that NIL, the transfer portal and the COVID-19 pandemic’s added season of eligibility have had on leveling out and redistributing talent. NIL has made it more attainable for programs to convince veteran players to return for another season, like Blake Corum at Michigan or Michael Penix Jr. at Washington. Penix used his bonus season to come back in 2023, too.
The portal allows already strong rosters to fill those last remaining voids with ready-made contributors like Dillon Johnson for the Huskies or Josaiah Stewart for the Wolverines. Michigan’s offensive line benefitted from all three of those avenues.
There are now multiple ways for good teams to bridge the gap to becoming a really good or great team by avoiding having to plug in underclassmen or less talented players who aren’t ready, which can help balance the scales against some of those talent-rich rosters in the south.
There was also plenty of happenstance that brought us to this point this season. We were just a couple of plays away from getting an Alabama vs. Texas championship game. What if Georgia had made the Playoff? What if Jordan Travis didn’t get hurt for Florida State?
There are reasonable arguments to be made for the South potentially ceding some ground after two decades of championship dominance, and as a fan of the sport, I’m excited about the matchup we got this season. But I’m not ready to crown this the start of a trend just yet.
Honestly, I don’t know if anything that happens in the game could make him stay. There’s just so much smoke surrounding Harbaugh’s potential return to the NFL. That’s not to say it’s a guarantee it happens — there has been plenty of smoke the past two offseasons as well.
He reportedly has a 10-year, $125-million contract extension from Michigan sitting on his desk, with the not-so-subtle clause that prevents him from pursuing an NFL gig in 2024, but it seems clear that Harbaugh is going to test those NFL waters once again.
There appears to be some level of mutual interest (or at least intrigue) between the coach and a few of the NFL jobs that are already open. Maybe in the end each of those openings goes in a different direction, or Harbaugh doesn’t get the type of deal or landing spot he prefers and opts to come back to Ann Arbor and face whatever fallout the NCAA investigations deliver. That’s definitely a possibility. But I don’t expect a win or loss by any margin in tonight’s game will impact that fate.
This is a great question and something I’m also curious about. Both staffs will make little tweaks here and there, but at this point in the season, these two teams are in this game on this stage because of who they are and who they’ve been all year.
For Michigan’s defense, the most crucial task will be getting pressure on Michael Penix Jr. This is a dangerous offense with a star-studded cast of wide receivers that Penix can hit at any moment. The less time he has in the pocket, the better for the Wolverines.
For Washington’s offense, you’d like to see the Huskies maybe run the ball a bit better — granted, they’ve had low rushing numbers all season and are still playing for a national championship. The Huskies are averaging just 123.57 yards per game on the ground, good for No. 102 nationally. The running game could be crucial if Michigan is able to impact Penix.
It’s definitely possible. Kalen DeBoer is one of the smartest coaches in college football and develops players as well as anyone in the country. He has a proven track record of program-building, and it’s hard to overstate how impressive he has been this year.
Plus, the Huskies got a solid pickup in the transfer portal this offseason with Mississippi State’s Will Rogers committing. The only thing that gives me pause about Washington’s future as a potential powerhouse in the next few years is the Huskies’ recruiting. Washington currently has just the nation’s No. 36 class for 2024 with an average player rating of 88.82 — one spot below Missouri and one spot above Kentucky. Perhaps this run, plus the move to the Big Ten will get things rolling on the recruiting trail for 2025. But I thought that the 2024 class would be a little meatier than it is.