Just weeks ago, the national media was dogging Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines by calling them cheaters, saying their run over the last few years was tainted and they shouldn’t be in the College Football Playoffs. But this team just kept winning and suddenly, POOF, opinions have changed.
Here is a quick recap of what the national media is saying about the Wolverines after being crowned champs:
We’ll start with ESPN and the greatest Michigan hater of them all, Paul Finebaum. The man actually admitted he was wrong on Tuesday, and we had to do a stand-alone story here at Maize n Brew because we were all so shocked:
Moving on to The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach, she chose the Wolverines to win it all at the beginning of the season. Yet, she was still impressed with how the team performed on Monday, beating Washington without having nearly as explosive as a scheme:
“Any team wants its best players to be its best players when they’re needed the most, but that doesn’t always happen. On the opposite sideline on Monday night, Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. missed throws he had made with ease a week ago, making the nation’s best offense look rather pedestrian. It’s harder than it sounds, even with all the preparation or confidence in the world.
“This Michigan team wasn’t flashy all the time. It wasn’t even flashy often. But when the lights came on and the camera clicked, no one shone brighter than these stars.”
Many still question if Michigan’s wins will be vacated depending on the results of the sign-stealing scandal, including this national championship. But Dennis Dodd over at CBS Sports wants nothing to do with it.
“Vacated wins? You can’t vacate what we saw on the field. For the first time in CFP National Championship history, two running backs went for more than 100 yards on the ground (Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards). The Wolverines’ 303 yards rushing were not only more than the Huskies’ total yardage in the game (301) but the most on the ground by a national title winner in the BCS/CFP era (since 1998). Meanwhile, Washington and its top-ranked passing offense was held to its lowest point total of the season with Michigan going through a 15-game campaign not allowing a single team to score more than 24 points.”
The current king of the sports talk industry, Pat McAfee, praised Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines despite picking against them in just about every game he possibly could have on College Gameday (Washington, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio State, Rutgers, etc.):
Kirk Herbstreit joined McAfee’s show on Tuesday and praised the Wolverines’ defense for holding Penix Jr. to 255 passing yards and two interceptions on over 50 attempts.
"Michigan gave Washington such a different look and they made Michael Penix look uncomfortable..— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 9, 2024
That defense is legit and they play old school football" ~ @KirkHerbstreit #PMSLive pic.twitter.com/FnRMVU1Fle
The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel, who has notoriously been hating on Michigan since the sign-stealing scandal broke, he had to eat his words in his latest column:
“In the months-long case of Michigan vs. Everybody, we hereby declare Michigan the overwhelming victor.
“No matter who tried to take the Wolverines down this season — Penn State, Ohio State, the NCAA, Tony Petitti, Alabama or the Washington Huskies — the Wolverines prevailed. Their closing argument: a thorough humbling of Heisman runner-up and Sugar Bowl sensation Michael Penix Jr. en route to a 21-point victory to cap a 15-0 season.
“Hail to the Victors, indeed.”
Still, he had to take his shot on Harbaugh and the program later in the piece...
“I would say it’s uncomfortable that a team facing two NCAA investigations, whose coach was suspended for 40 percent of its season, wound up the belle of the ball. And a bit vomit-inducing that said coach had the audacity to say afterward, “Off-the-field issues? We’re innocent. We stood strong and tall because we knew we’re innocent.” Nothing says “innocent” like filing a fiery lawsuit, then abruptly dropping it a week later when new evidence emerges.
“But it would be disingenuous to say the Wolverines didn’t earn their rings.”
We’ll wrap things up with Joel Klatt, who has called several Michigan games alongside Gus Johnson on Big Noon Kickoff in recent years. He’s always admired the way the Wolverines have played under Harbaugh: