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CFP notebook: Washington can give Pac-12 a champion’s farewell

cfp-notebook:-washington-can-give-pac-12-a-champion's-farewell

The College Football Playoff title game against Michigan is Washington’s final contest as a member of the Pac-12.

The Huskies move into the Big Ten next season, and one of their nine conference games in their debut season will be against Michigan.

The Wolverines are scheduled to visit the Huskies in Seattle on Oct. 5.

“Certainly, they’re on our schedule a year from now and it’s a whole different deal that we’ll be involved with as far as a new conference,” Washington coach Kalen DeBoer said. “I think this year where we’re at right now in the season, this is all about really us representing the Pac-12 and going to win a national championship for our program and finishing off this season for this group of guys that have worked really hard.”

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is trying to keep the rematch as a topic for another time.

“Yeah, I guess I have thought about that,” Harbaugh said of the 2024 matchup. “I’m thinking more about the here and now for sure.”

–While Harbaugh repeatedly taps around questions regarding Michigan sign-stealing allegations, quarterback J.J. McCarthy made some pointed comments this week involving the team’s fiercest rival while trying to defend the Wolverines.

“I also feel like it’s so unfortunate because there’s probably — I don’t want to say a crazy number, but I’d say a good number — 80 percent of the teams in college football steal signs,” McCarthy said. “It’s just a thing about football. It’s been around for years.

“We actually had to adapt because in 2020 or 2019 when Ohio State was stealing our signs, which is legal and they were doing it, we had to get up to the level that they were at, and we had to make it an even playing field.”

Harbaugh was suspended for the final three games of the regular season due to the issue. The NCAA is still investigating the situation.

Harbaugh also served a three-game suspension at the outset of the season for his role in NCAA violations involving recruiting and coaching time.

Michigan players continue to say that suspensions and scrutiny of the program have been fuel for their success.

“Things happen along the way that don’t kind of fall into place,” Wolverines defensive tackle Mason Graham said. “We’ve overcome a lot of adversity this season. I’ve felt like it’s brought us closer together, and I think everyone is starting to see this in the outside world.”

–Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has received considerable acclaim for a stellar season that includes being named Heisman Trophy runner-up.

His top receiver, Rome Odunze, operates in a relative vacuum despite setting a program record with 1,553 receiving yards, third-most in Pac-12 history. Odunze also has 87 receptions and needs eight catches on Monday to set that school mark as well.

“I think a big thing is his consistency,” Penix said of Odunze. “You see that each and every week on a consistent basis. He doesn’t just do it on game day, either. He shows up in practice, always giving the best looks, the best reps that he can to help his team, and that’s what I think makes him so special.”

Odunze had six receptions for 125 yards in the CFP semifinal win against Texas. The 100-yard outing was his 10th of the season.

–Michigan running back Blake Corum’s decisive touchdown against Alabama in the Rose Bowl was his 56th career rushing score, snapping a tie with Anthony Thomas (55 from 1997-2000) for the school record.

Corum is second in Michigan history with 354 career points, tied with former kicker Garrett Rivas (2003-06). Former kicker Jake Moody (2018-22) holds the school mark of 355.

–Field Level Media

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