750 The Game Staff
Monday night’s national championship game is a Big Ten showdown between Michigan and Washington.
Well, it will be in 2024, at least. On Oct. 5th in Seattle to be exact.
For now, it’s the last time a Pac-12 team will take the field to represent the conference of champions as we know it. The Huskies are 4.5-pt underdogs to the Wolverines.
But after the game, all eyes look ahead to 2024 as the Big Ten welcomes Oregon, Washington, USC and UCLA into the fold.
Austin Meek covered the Ducks as a columnist at the Eugene Register-Guard before joining The Athletic and covering Michigan football the past few seasons. He joined John Canzano on 750 The Game with a look at Monday’s title game and his thoughts on Oregon and Washington joining the conference.
“I think that they will compete (right away), I really do,” Meek told Canzano on 750 The Game. “I watched a lot of Big Ten football this year. And there was not a lot, after you got through the first two or three teams in the Big Ten, that really impressed you. Iowa was in the Big Ten championship game, and they couldn’t score. They were dreadful on offense. They play good defense. There are good defenses in the Big Ten – Penn State has a good defense.
“But if I’m Oregon or Washington I am not intimidated coming into the Big Ten thinking like, oh, can we compete with the big bad Big Ten. Michigan and Ohio State are always going to be good because they recruit at a high level and develop at a high level. Penn State always is going to have good athletes. But once you get into the middle of the Big Ten there’s room for a team like Oregon or Washington to come into this league and really make some hay and I expect those teams to contend, I really do.”
As for Monday’s title bout in Houston, Meek says Jim Harbaugh’s squad better be ready to score points to keep pace with Michael Penix, Jr. and Washington.
“I think Michigan needs to score. Their offense can go into hibernation at times, as it did against Alabama. Their offense really was M.I.A. for a big chunk of the second half until that last drive. They did it when they needed to, they made the plays they needed to make to win that game. But they’re going to have to make more of them against Washington because I think Washington is going to be able to score.”
Meek says in a back-and-forth game, the key for Michigan has to include winning the turnover battle and putting up points on offense.
“I think Michigan needs to go into this game thinking they need at least 30 points on the board from their offense. And I think they need to force a couple turnovers. Michigan has been good at taking care of the ball. They’ve been ahead in the turnover margin pretty much all year. Michael Penix will throw an interception here and there. I think Michigan needs to go into the game thinking they’re going to get a couple takeaways and they’re going to take care of the ball on their own side, and if they can move the ball on offense I think they’ll be in good shape.”
Listen to the full interview with The Athletic’s Austin Meek below.
John Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.