College Football Playoff: Michigan takes No. 1, joined by Washington, Texas, Alabama

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Michigan Jim Harbaugh
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates defensive back Mike Sainristil (0), who was named MVP, after U-M’s 26-0 win over Iowa in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Indianapolis.

The College Football Playoff is set and for the first time in 26 years, Michigan leads the pack with its first No. 1 ranking since 1997, which just so happened to be the last time the Wolverines won a national championship.

They’ll be joined for a pursuit of the national title by No. 2 Washington, No. 3 Texas, and No. 4 Alabama, which edged out an undefeated Florida State side that picked up the No. 4 ranking in the Associated Press’s final poll.

Alabama gets the nod after defeating Georgia in the SEC championship on Saturday, snapping the Bulldogs’ 29-game win streak and knocking them off the No. 1 perch of the AP Poll in 24 weeks. That was the second-longest streak in AP poll history behind USC’s 33 straight No. 1’s from 2003-2005.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Crimson Tide, however, had lost one game this season and just squeaked by a mediocre Auburn side the week before. While they boasted a superior strength of schedule to Florida State, the ACC side was 2-0 against the SEC this year.

Michigan picked up the No. 1 seed after defeating Ohio State to reach the Big Ten championship where it shut out No. 17 Iowa 26-0.

Michigan and Alabama will face off on New Year’s Day at the Rose Bowl.

Michael Penix Jr. Giants
Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. throws a pass during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Southern California, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

This is the second time that Washington is in the College Football Playoff, clinching its first appearance since a 2017 Peach Bowl semifinal loss to Alabama. The Huskies are 13-0, putting together their finest season in program history by outlasting No. 8 Oregon in the Pac-12 title game on Friday, 34-31. They’ll be looking for their third national title ever and their first since 1991 — a title that was shared with Miami (FL). 

Texas Keilan Robinson
Texas’ Keilan Robinson (7) celebrates a touchdown in front of Oklahoma State’s Cameron Epps (7) in the second half of the Big 12 Football Championship game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

They’ll face Texas in the Sugar Bowl, a blue-chip program that is returning to prominence after a lengthy lay-off from the epicenter of college football. Going 12-1 this season, they shook off an early October loss to No. 12 Oklahoma to run through the Big 12, headlined by a 49-21 win over No. 22 Oklahoma State in the conference title game. The 12 wins are the most by the Longhorns since 2009 when they lost the National Championship Game. They haven’t won a title since 2005.

This will be the final time that the College Football Playoff will feature just four teams. The NCAA is expanding the field to 12 teams next year. 

Odds to win 2023-24 College Football Playoff National Championship

  • Michigan +160
  • Alabama +200
  • Texas +280
  • Washington +750

Odds courtesy of DraftKings. For more, click here.

For more on the College Football Playoff, visit AMNY.com