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    No. 2 Washington vs. No. 1 Michigan College Football Playoff national championship game odds: Wolverines open as 4.5-point favorites against Huskies

    No. 2 Washington takes on No. 1 Michigan in the College Football Playoff national title game in Houston next Monday.
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    No. 2 Washington (14-0) plays its final game as a member of the Pac-12 when it takes on No. 1 Michigan (14-0) in the College Football Playoff national championship game in Houston next Monday, with the Wolverines opening as 4.5-point favorites on the SportsLine consensus. It's a possible preview of the 2024 Big Ten Championship game, with the Huskies set to move to the conference next season.

    The Big Ten and Pac-12 are meeting for the second time in the CFP title game with No. 4 Ohio State beating No. 2 Oregon 42-20 following the 2014 season in the first year of the CFP. The Buckeyes championship is the only title for either the Big Ten or Pac-12 in the CFP era.

    This is the first time since 2014 that an SEC team failed to make it to the final. Michigan knocked off No. 4 Alabama, the SEC champs, in a 27-20 overtime win in the Rose Bowl. JJ McCarthy threw for three scores and Michigan overcame some terrible special teams mistakes. The Michigan defense dominated in the trenches with six sacks and 10 tackles for losses -- both season highs. The Rose Bowl was Michigan's first overtime game of the year and the program's first since 2020, when the Wolverines defeated Rutgers. 

    Michigan has set a school record with 14 wins. A national title win could be the final push for coach Jim Harbaugh to leave Ann Arbor and return to the NFL with Harbaugh still facing potential punishment by the NCAA for recruiting violations. We'll touch on that early next week.

    The biggest longshot to win a national title since 2001 was Auburn in 2010, when it was priced +5000 in the preseason. Washington opened at +4000 for this season, which would be the second-longest odds for a champion along with Ohio State (2014) and LSU (2003) in that timeframe. 

    Longest preseason odds to win national title since 2001:

    2010 Auburn

    +5000

    2014 Ohio State

    +4000

    2023 Washington*

    +4000

    2003 LSU

    +4000

    2012 LSU

    +2500

    2002 Ohio State

    +1900

    Heisman finalist Michael Penix was sensational in Monday's 37-31 win over Texas. He threw for 430 yards and two scores and surely boosted his 2024 draft status. He's the first QB with back-to-back seasons of at least 4,500 passing yards since Patrick Mahomes did so at Texas Tech.

    Washington has won a national-best 21 straight games (the third-longest streak in school history) and an FBS-record 10 straight by 10 or fewer points (record dating to 1973). Under Kalen DeBoer, the team is 10-0 vs. AP-ranked teams and 5-0 vs. teams ranked in the top 10.

    Penix is a transfer from Indiana and has faced Michigan once, leading 38-21 Hoosiers win on Nov. 7, 2020, in Bloomington. He passed for 342 yards and three scores. Thus, Penix has beaten Michigan more recently than Ohio State has.

    Washington and Michigan last played in 2021, with Michigan winning 31-10 at home when the starting QBs were Dylan Morris and Cade McNamara. They will also play next regular season in Seattle on Oct. 5 with Washington entering the Big 10 along with Oregon, USC and UCLA.

    Three of the past College Football Playoffs have been won by the No. 1 seed after the top team didn't win any of the first five editions. However, the No. 2 seed is 3-0 all-time vs. the No. 1 in the title game. Those three matchups all involved Clemson and Alabama. Washington is 5-0, both straight up and against the spread, as a underdog in Penix's Huskies tenure.

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