Indianapolis, IN — December 5, 2021
With their win over Ohio State last Saturday, the Michigan Wolverines were poised to take a major step in the recent history of the football program. Their first visit to the Big Ten Championship game sent them to Indianapolis with the opportunity to earn an even bigger prize.
Would the euphoria of breaking an eight-game losing streak to the Buckeyes cloud their vision when they faced Iowa for the Big Ten Championship? It has been 17 years since Michigan claimed a conference title. When the Big Ten expanded and began playing a season-ending contest between two division winners in 2011, Michigan State qualified for that game. The Spartans made two more appearances in Indy winning in 2013 and 2015.
The pride of the Michigan faithful was bruised, despite winning 42 conference titles and 11 National Championships, they have only finished atop the polls once in the last 73 years (1997). This was Michigan’s first appearance in the Conference Championship since the game was instituted and the fans were optimistic but nervous.
No hangover, no jitters, the Wolverines came out with a big play offense building a 14-3 halftime lead. The defense dominated the Hawkeyes and Michigan did not take their foot off the gas grinding out a 42-3 win to grab that 43rd title and lock up a place in the College Football Playoffs (CFP).
After dominating Ohio State, Jim Harbaugh’s team entered the Championship Weekend slotted 2nd in the CFP rankings. Georgia was ranked #1, Cincinnatti was 4th and after almost losing to Auburn, Alabama was ranked 3rd.
Cincy took care of business with a 35-20 win over Houston to finish the season undefeated and lock themselves into a playoff spot. Alabama upset Georgia 41-24 and returned to the top of the rankings.
Playoff Bracket Set
The CFP selection committee finalized the rankings and playoff matchups Sunday morning.
The National Semifinal game from the Cotton Bowl will feature No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Cincinnati | Friday, December 31st at 3:30 pm on ESPN
The National Semifinal game from the Orange Bowl will feature No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Georgia | Friday, December 31st at 3:30 pm on ESPN
The winners will face off in the National Championship Game | Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 at 8 pm on ESPN