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What to know as Michigan and Washington face off in the college football championship

Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer, left, and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh pose with the trophy after a news conference ahead of the national championship NCAA College Football Playoff game between Washington and Michigan on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Houston. The game will be played Monday.
Godofredo A. Vasquez
/
AP
Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer, left, and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh pose with the trophy after a news conference ahead of the national championship NCAA College Football Playoff game between Washington and Michigan on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Houston. The game will be played Monday.

The No. 1 Michigan Wolverines and No. 2 Washington Huskies will meet in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday, setting up what's expected to be a competitive season finale between two 14-0 teams.

Michigan is favored beat Washington by 5.5 points, according to FanDuel Sportsbook odds as of Sunday night.

What's at stake

It's Michigan's first national championship appearance since 1997, with nine national titles to their name. Washington, which has two national titles, are in their first title game since 1991.

In the two seasons since he was hired to Washington, coach Kalen DeBoer has managed to turn a 4-8 team into a 25-2 one with 21 straight wins.

Jim Harbaugh, in his ninth season as the Michigan coach, took his alma mater to the semifinals in the past two years. He now advances to the title game after a bumpy season of six game suspensions, three for recruiting violations and three related to a sign-stealing scandal.

Historically, the Wolverines have outlasted Washington with an all-time 8-5 record against the Huskies.

Both teams are stacked with experience

NCAA players who would have lost a year of eligibility to the pandemic-shortened 2020 season were granted an extra year on the roster. The COVID-19 exemption has translated to robust experience on both teams.

Fourteen of Washington's 22 offensive and defensive starters are in their fifth or sixth season, while Michigan has nine starters in their fifth or sixth season.

Older players on both teams vowed to use that extra year to pursue a national championship, reported The Associated Press.

"Just knowing the guys we had in this room and the brotherhood, we saw all the things we could do together," Michigan sixth-year linebacker Michael Barrett told the AP. "We talked about what's good for the hive is good for the bee, and what's good for the bee is good for the hive."

How to watch the game

When: Monday, Jan. 8, at 7:30 p.m. ET

Where: NRG Stadium, Houston

Where to watch: ESPN and streaming on the ESPN app

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Emma Bowman