Jim Harbaugh & Michigan Win The 2024 National Championship
HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 08: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates after defeating the Washington Huskies during the 2024 CFP National Championship game at NRG Stadium on January 08, 2024 in Houston, Texas. Michigan defeated Washington 34-13. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Adapted from “Crain & Co.,” January 9, 2024. 

Jake Crain: Michigan took on Washington in the College Football Playoff National Championship game last night — the game that the whole college football season comes down to. It was the Midwest versus West Coast. Smash-mouth versus spread-it-out. The Great Lakes versus, well, the ocean. Like I said yesterday, this matchup wasn’t the Coca-Cola classic that we’re used to seeing with the team representing from the South; however, I also said I didn’t think that meant it wouldn’t be as delicious. After all, in the long run, it’s better for you to have an alternative every once in a while.

That’s why I called last night’s national championship matchup “The College Football Natty Zero Sugar.” We haven’t seen an SEC-teamless-Natty since the inception of the College Football Playoff in 2014. But make no mistake, this wasn’t a mistake. These two teams are elite and both have a roster full of the unteachable intangible — which is experience.

Now, both identities are polar opposites — there’s more than one way to skin a cat — but they’re both as deadly in effectiveness. Before the game, I said it was no time to get cute. It was no time to reinvent the wheel. It was time to dance with the one that brought you. One, if by ground in Michigan, and two, if by air in Washington. I predicted we should have been in for a doozy of a matchup either way, especially in a year where more teams have been capable of winning the whole thing than ever before. And my hope was that maybe, just maybe, this year will be the new norm (and not just a parody of so-called parity). 

Then we all watched Jim Harbaugh and Michigan win the 2024 National Championship. To the Washington fans, players, and everyone associated with the Huskies program, be upset; it’s tough. You don’t know if you will get back to this stage. You don’t know if you’re ever going to get back to this stage. But those young men have nothing to be ashamed of. Michael Penix Jr. did not have his best game last night, but he has nothing to be ashamed of what they accomplished to elevate Washington to another National Championship — the first one since 1991. They wanted to win it. No one plays this game to lose. No one puts in all the work to finish second, especially with the veterans they had on this team with the way they played all year. But Kalen DeBoer proved that not only can Washington get there, but they have the potential to win.

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This was a dog fight. It showed the type of team, culture, and young men that DeBoer is cultivating. Early in the game, it looked like it was going to snowball, but they were able to regroup and stay in the fight — especially the Washington defense. I know at the end it unraveled a bit in the last two possessions, but Washington’s defense kept them in that game. They showed a ton of fortitude, and this is only just the beginning. I’m excited to see where they go from here. 

Typically, each day on our show, I regale listeners and watchers with an epic monologue that sets up the day, gives hope, happiness, friendship — all those good feelings. But today’s a special day after Michigan won the National Championship last night. It makes sense, then, that I kick it over to my Nephilim friend, six-foot-seven former Michigan quarterback, David Cone.

David Cone: That’s a lot to live up to, but today, I’ll speak to the news of the National Championship. I’m often asked why I chose to play football at Michigan. The short answer is: because they gave me a shot. And every day since I set foot in Ann Arbor, I have been proud to be a part of that brotherhood. 

It feels like I speak for many when I say, Michigan ever winning another championship on the national stage began to feel unattainable. One reason for this is that the Southeastern conference has been the dominant force in this sport for more than a decade. The second reason is that the Buckeyes proved to be the gold standard in our own conference for more than a decade. And then the 2024 season happened.

I want to speak directly to the players, the coaches, and staff members inside of Schembechler Hall, many of whom I played with and played for. This is your achievement. You’ve made a lot of people proud along the way, but you did this. You just won the first National Championship in the history of Michigan football. Why do I say that? Because every title up to this point was claimed or awarded by the media or by the coaches.

Not this time. This was won.

People asked all season, “Who Michigan had beaten”? The answer is everyone.

You beat your rival. You won your conference. You went toe-to-toe with the greatest coach in college football history, Nick Saban, and came out on top. Then you finished by holding the most prolific offense in the country to 13 points. Jim Harbaugh, this championship is on you, all because when things got tough in 2020, you pointed at yourself and said this isn’t good enough. We haven’t been good enough, but we will be.

Whatever happens to this group in the days and weeks to come, just know, we all can’t wait to see what you accomplish next. Some of you will play professionally, some will start businesses and become husbands and fathers. Whatever you do, use this moment as a stepping stone to further achievement in life, and take pride in the fact that you men, in that locker room, are now responsible for the greatest season in the history of Michigan football.

Go Blue.

* * *

Jake Crain is co-host of “Crain & Company” the Daily Wire’s sports show hosted by former athletes and coaches Jake Crain, Blain Crain, and David Cone. Follow him: @JakeCrain_

David Cone is a co-host and producer of the Daily Wire’s sports show Crain & Company, as well as a contributor to Morning Wire. David is also a former quarterback for the University of Michigan. You can follow him on Twitter/X and Instagram at @davidadamcone

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