After having the last couple weeks to prepare and practice from Ann Arbor, the Michigan Wolverines are now in Arizona getting ready for the College Football Playoff semifinals this Saturday against the TCU Horned Frogs in the Fiesta Bowl (4 p.m., ESPN).
After arriving in Arizona Monday night, head coach Jim Harbaugh, running back Donovan Edwards, linebacker Michael Barrett and safety Rod Moore briefly spoke to the media to get their initial thoughts heading into game week.
“We’re honored to be here,” Harbaugh said in his opening statement. “This is the best of the best playing the best, and our team is ready to have at it.”
If he and the team want to accomplish their fourth and final goal laid out by Harbaugh this offseason, they’ll have to play two of the best teams in the nation. The Wolverines have already accomplished three of those four aforementioned goals — beat Michigan State, beat Ohio State, win the Big Ten Championship — but now they have their eyes set on winning the national championship.
“(This is) right where we want to be. Like I said, the best of the best playing the best — that’s where we want to be. Ready to have at it,” Harbaugh said.
Standing in their way is a solid 12-1 TCU team that lost the Big 12 Championship by a field goal in overtime to Kansas State. Among the chief reasons for the Horned Frogs’ success this season is quarterback Max Duggan, who was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy this year. He threw for 3,321 yards, 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He took a huge leap forward under first-year head coach Sonny Dykes, who won a handful of coach of the year honors as well.
Some fans may be overlooking the Horned Frogs and eyeing a spot in the championship to play against either Ohio State or Georgia, but the Wolverines are doing none of that.
“They’re a great team, no question about it,” Harbaugh said. “Really good at all positions. Speed, but this is a strong team as well in all three phases.
“(Duggan is) one of the best players in the country leading one of the best teams in the country. Tremendous competitor — he’s been so productive. Total offense and leadership, everything. You can tell he’s on a mission, and so is our guy J.J. McCarthy.”