Jim Harbaugh and the University of Michigan (UofM) Wolverines finally won the NCAA National Championship. On Jan. 8, No. 1 ranked UofM defeated No. 2 ranked University of Washington 31-10 to take the national championship trophy back to Michigan after a 27-year drought.
As a big Michigan fan myself, it was great to see this team finally win a national championship. There have been so many years where I’ve been made fun of because Michigan wasn’t one of the top teams in college football. The Wolverines were so close for the past few years, so it was gratifying to see this great team of players win such a prestigious prize.
Garrett Draper, a sophomore from Sylvania, Ohio felt gratified as well.
“I was finally able to see one of my favorite sports teams win a championship. It felt surreal to be able to watch the game with my family after being a fan our entire lives,” Draper said via survey.
Ian Balint, a sophomore from Ann Arbor felt similar emotions about the win.
“I was so happy and a little emotional. Being from Ann Arbor and growing up a huge Michigan fan I just couldn’t believe it and got a little choked up,” Balint said via survey.
This season found Michigan at the forefront of a variety of great plays. Some moments include Rod Moore sealing “The Game” with a clutch interception or Blake Corum’s record-breaking touchdown to set Michigan’s single-season rushing touchdowns record. Still, the key moment of the season for me was Michigan getting a stop in the Rose Bowl against Alabama in overtime to secure a spot in the national championship game. They proved me wrong in a game where I thought Michigan would crumble under pressure. Sure, it was a little close for my liking, but Alabama is the No. 4 ranked team in the nation for a reason.
The Albion College student fanbase for Michigan football who answered the Pleiad’s survey agreed that the best part of the season for Michigan was the Rose Bowl win over Alabama.
“Watching Michigan beat Alabama in a come-from-behind fashion in the Rose Bowl,” Draper said via survey regarding his favorite play.
Michigan’s performance at the Rose Bowl was something noted by Balint also. “The last play of the Rose Bowl,” Balint said via survey. “The aura of the Rose Bowl combined with two very historic programs was so awesome to watch. I couldn’t believe we were going to the national championship.”
Now that Michigan has won the national championship, anything short of a repeat might be seen as a failure. Consider the following: The chances of Michigan making it to another national championship game seem like a reach. Two of Michigan’s best players, quarterback J.J. McCarthy and running back Blake Corum have declared for the NFL draft. Pair that with there being a chance that head coach Jim Harbaugh will leave to go back to coaching in the NFL, and our chances seem to dwindle.
I still expect success, but losing players like McCarthy and Corum, paired with the possibility of Harbaugh leaving, the team doesn’t seem great. However, the talent of the rest of the roster can hold their own. I still do expect them to be in the playoffs due to the new 12-team playoff rule being implemented; however, I see a possible first-round exit for Michigan next season.
On campus, however, we have more optimistic fans.
“I think the defense is going to be top 5 again. They are going to be able to run the ball effectively again and if they can find a system quarterback they can be a playoff team,” Draper said via survey.
I am a bit of a pessimist when it comes to cheering on my favorite teams. I try not to get my hopes up too much, to spare my dreams from being crushed. As I said previously, I think Michigan will make it to the playoffs, but I am nervous about the actual outcome of their playoff visit. On the other hand, we have a very optimistic fanbase here at Albion. The consensus is that Michigan will repeat and win another NCAA National Championship. Only time will tell. Until then, I’ll be keeping my eye on Michigan, in the hopes live up to the hype they set for themselves.