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The Most Anticipated Rose Bowl Of All Time

The 2024 Rose Bowl between the Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) and the Michigan Wolverines (13-0) will be one for the ages. The greatest college football dynasty of the 21st century takes on the best team in the land who's overcome adversity of all kinds this season. The two winningest programs in college football history will battle in the most historic place.

How Alabama Got Here

"Big, bad Alabama? Not anymore. Texas football had nothing to fear."

That was the headline in Tuscaloosa News in September after a dismantling loss suffered at home by the Alabama Crimson Tide. The sky was falling as college football fans everywhere turned their attention away from the once unstoppable, but seemingly broken team.

Following that Texas loss, Jalen Milroe watched from the bench as multiple backup quarterbacks struggled in a 17-3 victory over South Florida. It seemed like it was bound to be a lost season, but the Tide only improved from there.

Defeating 4 top 25 teams, and seeing their lone loss of Texas dominate as well, Alabama continued to roll as they knocked off back-to-back national champion Georgia in the SEC championship. Through limitless adversity, Milroe and Alabama defied all odds to reach the College Football Playoff.

How Michigan Got Here

One word stemming from a tweet by Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy has rallied a group that feels it's them against the world. The Wolverines came into this year with perhaps the highest expectations in program history since Charles Woodson led them to a national championship victory (they played in the Rose Bowl that year).

The tweet by McCarthy was in response to a three-game suspension bestowed upon head coach Jim Harbaugh to end the regular season. This came after Harbaugh already served a three-game suspension at the beginning of the season due to recruiting violations.

The latest suspension came amidst allegations of sign-stealing and illegal in-person scouting. The team became extremely polarizing, and to some, illegitimate. Football fans pondered whether the last two seasons were for real, or if they cheated their way to the playoffs.

Nonetheless, they accepted the suspensions and won despite not having their head coach. They defeated Ohio State and went on to win the Big Ten Championship against Big Ten West champion Iowa. They've overcome all self-inflicted wounds and have found themselves with the highest ranking in the poll.

The Rose Bowl: Lay Of The Land

The opening line shows Michigan as a 1.5-point favorite. This would be the narrowest spread between the 1 and 4 seeds in College Football Playoff history. While Michigan has nothing but dominate their opposition at the line of scrimmage this year, they haven't seen a team like Alabama just yet.

Alabama's offensive line is one of the heaviest in college football history and developed immensely as the season progressed. Michigan has been stellar defensively, recording 2.5 sacks per game while allowing just 87.7 rushing yards per contest.

On the flip side, Michigan also showcases a strong offensive line. They've led a rushing attack that averages 161.9 yards against an Alabama unit that has allowed just 124.4 rushing yards per game, good for 29th in the country.

This is undoubtedly a game that will come down to the trenches. The team that wins the line of scrimmage battle will have a major advantage in the game. Sports fans everywhere will be glued to their TV on January 1st.

This will be the most highly anticipated college football game in a long time.

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