If it wasn’t obvious before, this week has made the Michigan Wolverines’ 2023 goal crystal clear — finish the story and win the national championship.
In a recent interview with ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, quarterback J.J. McCarthy expressed his hunger to finally lift the College Football Playoff trophy.
“My 1A goal is bring a national championship to Ann Arbor; 1B is to never lose to (Ohio State),” McCarthy said. “That will mean a lot to me. From the guys that play scout team to the guys that are touching the ball every play, we have to be our best at all times. That’s not always going to look pretty, but we just got to keep pushing, keep pushing and growing in every aspect, and we’ll be where we want to be by Nov. 25.
“(Winning the national championship) is my ultimate goal. I have a lot of goals, we have a lot of goals, but it’s to bring a national championship to Ann Arbor. We’re just so close.”
McCarthy’s comments come off the heels of a report by The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, who told the Move The Sticks podcast the Wolverines have implemented a “Beat Georgia” period to their practices. It’s clear Georgia is considered to be the big dog in the yard both within Schembechler Hall and across the nation, having won back to back national championships and being the favorites to win again in 2023.
But while Michigan has its sights set on the National Championship, McCarthy has not forgotten the painful ends to the Wolverines’ past two CFP campaigns, being dominated by the Bulldogs in the 2021 Orange Bowl and inexplicably losing to the TCU Horned Frogs in the 2022 Fiesta Bowl.
“(TCU) definitely hurt a whole lot more,” McCarthy said. “When I went in freshman year and we were playing the defense of the decade, it was kind of like, ‘All right, let’s see what I can do out here.’ Realistic expectation set in, like, ‘It’s going to be tough.’ But this TCU one, it was all in my hands. It was obviously a team effort, but I was in the driver’s seat. It’s a whole different pain that I’ve felt, and one that’s still driving me today.”
With several of Michigan’s top offensive talents in 2022 having returned for one last go around, McCarthy is clearly not alone in his belief that the Wolverines have a natty or bust attitude headed into the fall.