The Michigan football program will look for its first win of the College Football Playoff era against the Alabama Crimson Tide on New Year’s Day. Michigan earned the top spot by the committee, but the question surrounding College Football Selection Sunday revolved around their opponent. Despite the Florida State Seminoles going undefeated and winning the ACC Championship over the Louisville Cardinals, the committee gave the final spot to the one-loss Alabama Crimson Tide.
A viral video showing the Michigan football program reacting to the news quickly went viral, with the collective group showing little cheer when their opponent got announced. However, linebacker Michael Bennett spoke to the media on Thursday, clearing the air about what really was going through his and his teammate’s heads when Alabama was announced a participant in the CFP.
Michigan LB Michael Barrett when Bama announced as Rose Bowl opponent: "It's funny that I keep hearing everybody say we're scared because we got 'Bama. It was more like the shock of not seeing an undefeated Power 5 team get picked. We kind of figured that all the undefeated teams…
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 28, 2023
Michigan Wolverines LB Michael Barrett Discusses Team’s Reaction to Alabama Crimson Tide Making CFP
“It’s funny that I keep hearing everybody say we’re scared because we got ‘Bama. It was more like the shock of not seeing an undefeated Power 5 team get picked. We kind of figured that all the undefeated teams were going to come & we were just debating on who would slip into that fourth spot. So not seeing Florida State in there, it was kind of a shock to everybody,” said Barnett on Friday.
The College Football Playoff committee picked the one-loss Alabama Crimson Tide over the Florida State Seminoles for the final spot in the four-team field. The Seminoles lost star quarterback Jordan Travis to a gruesome injury weeks prior and had to battle against Florida and Louisville to remain undefeated. Meanwhile, Alabama won 11 in a row, including toppling then-top-ranked Georgia in the SEC Championship. The committee has long disclosed that injury plays a factor in their decision-making.
Barnett continued, saying, It wasn’t really like fear, never that, of any team. It was just more shock. We kind of just were already expecting, ‘Okay, if they got (Texas) at 3, then they’ve got to be Florida State at 4.’ “
Michigan Football: Clashes with Alabama in Rose Bowl
On New Year’s Day, the Michigan Wolverines will face the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl. Michigan finished the season undefeated, beating the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Championship. They possess one of the best defenses in college football and an elite running game headlined by Blake Corum.
Meanwhile, Alabama is running hot, most recently beating juggernaut Georgia in the SEC Championship. Quarterback Jalen Milroe, who got benched earlier in the year, finished the season with 35 total touchdowns in 12 games. He threw seven touchdowns to no picks in his final three games.