The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Watching the CFP national championship as a WSU fan and a writer

A two-sided interpretation
SoFi Stadium showcases the College Football Playoff trophy during the 2022 Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl, Dec. 17, in Los Angeles.


The Michigan Wolverines (15-0) beat the Washington Huskies (14-1) 34-13 at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX Jan. 8. I had the chance to watch it

The reporting perspective:

Michigan was dominant at the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense, which allowed the Wolverines to pull away in the fourth quarter. 

The Wolverine offensive line did a phenomenal job creating great running lanes for running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. 

Edwards finished with two 40-yard plus touchdowns on the night, making a statement in a statistically lackluster season for the back. 

The defensive line for Michigan was disruptive, and pass rushers like defensive tackle Mason Graham caused Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (a Heisman finalist) to be out of sync in key situations down the stretch. 

Washington had a truly amazing season, with Penix leading an aerial assault that finished second in the nation in passing, at 343.7 yards per game,  according to ESPN

This air raid was headlined by Penix’s deep ball to the elite wideout trio of Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, and Ja’Lynn Polk. Odunze finished first in the country in receiving with 1,640 yard connection with Penix being unstoppable all season up until they played Michigan. 

The Huskies definitely shouldn’t hang their heads as it was a statistically proficient season and they garnered a national championship birth, two incredible accomplishments. 

Michigan on the other hand capped off a perfect season amid a variety of controversies and suspensions within the program. 

These controversies and suspensions were related to alleged recruiting violations committed by Harbaugh and alleged sign-stealing committed by a Michigan staff member. 

The Wolverines were dominant on both sides of the ball all season long, especially on defense, only giving up an astounding 9.5 points per game. 

The win for Michigan gives head coach  Jim Harbaugheen his first national championship and Michigan’s first since 1997. 

The fan perspective:

As I prepared to watch the CFP national championship, I was having a very difficult time deciding who to root for. 

I had a game of tug-of-war going on in my head.

One part of me wanted to root for Michigan out of pure spite towards Washington, as they had a hand in destroying the beloved Pac-12. 

But the other part of me recalled my family’s connection to Washington’s purple and gold. 

My great-grandparents were longtime season ticket holders and big-time athletic fund donors for University of Washington before their age limited their travel. 

My mind landed on how amazing it would be to see my great-grandparents watch a national championship game and see their Huskies win, as they have both almost lived to a hundred years old. 

The Huskies have won a national championship in my great-grandparent’s lifetime, but they never won a legitimate championship game. 

In 1991, Washington finished first in the Coaches poll, resulting in the awarding of a national championship, but there was no national championship game that took place. 

I went into the game with the intention of rooting for the Huskies, despite how I questioned myself as a student at a rival university. 

But, as the game started and progressedI was reminded about the Michigan Wolverines and the incredible season they were having. 

I have never been a big Michigan supporter, but the way Michigan plays the game made me a huge fan. 

Michigan won this season by running the ball effectively, and that is certainly what they did in the national championship. 

The aforementioned defensive tackle Mason Graham was an absolute joy to watch. 

The 6-foot-3, 318-pounder created pressure against the pass all night long and was very stout against blockers in the run game. 

The combination of the run game with the stellar play on defense, really convinced me that Michigan was the better story to root for. 

After the first quarter, I was so blown away by Michigan, I started to cheer for them. 

This was an amazing game to watch as both a fan and a critic. 

I truly enjoyed the clash of styles that was the air raid for Washington versus the ground-and-pound look for Michigan. 

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About the Contributors
Zach is a junior multimedia journalism major from Clarkston, Washington. He likes football and grew up going to Cougar football games.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.