Who’s the Rose Bowl favorite between Alabama and Michigan? Players deflect pressure

Michigan linebacker Michael Barrett realized something on Thursday morning. Despite Alabama technically entering the College Football Playoff against Barrett’s Wolverines as the No. 4 seed, Barrett faced questions as if Michigan wasn’t the top-ranked team in the country.

“I’m talking like the underdog here,” Barrett remarked while attending a Rose Bowl appearance at the Sheraton Grand in Los Angeles. “… I understand. It’s ‘Bama. That’s just the way things are. Let everyone converse up to the match. I kind of see it that way.

The Wolverines are sick of being compared to the Southeastern Conference, as other players have expressed. Like the Tide, many of them were nationally recruited throughout their high school years. Whether it’s Ohio State this year or previous College Football Playoff teams, they’ve faced opponents that are comparable to them. Compared to the current Alabama roster, which last played in 2021, Michigan has more CFP experience.

Edge rusher Jaylen Harrell stated that it seems like Michigan (-1.5) is the No. 4 seed rather than Alabama, who upset Florida State on selection Sunday, even if BetMGM is now supporting Michigan.

“It’s a big stereotype, ‘Bama,” Harrell remarked. We’re playing ‘Bama, I see. They must have visited us eight or ten times already. So when the playoffs roll around, everyone cheers for Alabama, don’t they?”

Less than an hour later, Alabama’s JC Latham thought that concept was “a little funny” when questioned about Harrell’s ideas. Latham recalled the players-only meeting that was convened following the September 9 loss to Texas or the lackluster performance against USF one week later. Let A Naysayer Know, or LANGK, is the team motto of Alabama, and they have a history of proving naysayers wrong.

“I feel like we’ve been underdogs no matter who we play, whether it’s the regular season, conference championship, playoffs, no matter who we play, guys always tend to favor the other team,” Latham said. “Our success is short-lived, and people say that it was kind of a one-off, kind of a one-time thing.”

Michigan has had its rallying cries, namely ‘Michigan vs. Everybody.’ The Wolverines program has been under fire in 2023 for an unresolved NCAA recruiting investigation and a sign-stealing scandal. Head coach Jim Harbaugh has been suspended for six games and multiple staffers have been dismissed.

ESPN will host the CFP Semifinals at 4 p.m. CT on New Year’s Day.

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