ATLANTA — Georgia showed Michigan where the bar was set last year in the Orange Bowl CFP and the Wolverines apparently have their sites set on revenge.
“I love our chances,” Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy said in an ESPN.com story.
“Last year, it was kind of bright lights, everything’s new, Big Ten championship, College Football Playoff. But going into the offseason, it gave us so much momentum. We knew we could get there and we could get back. This whole offseason, it was all about winning it.”
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Michigan dominated Ohio State in Columbus by a 45-23 count the final week of the regular season and thrashed Purdue 43-22 on Saturday night in Lucas Oil Stadium — the same Indianapolis venue where the Bulldogs beat Alabama to win last year’s CFP Championship Game.
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This year’s CFP Championship Game is on Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, but next up, there’s a pair of CFP Semifinals in Atlanta and the Phoenix area on Dec. 31.
Michigan plans on being there.
“Everything’s great that happened today, but the job’s not finished,” McCarthy said. “We’ve got a lot bigger plans.”
The pairings for the semifinal games will be announced at noon with Georgia expected to be No. 1 and headed for the Atlanta semifinal and Michigan No. 2 and slated to travel to Arizona.
TCU and Ohio State are expected to be the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, despite a late vocal push from Alabama coach Nick Saban.
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McCarthy and Michigan, however, sound driven by a chance to get another shot by Georgia.
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The Bulldogs essentially kicked sand in the faces of a weaker Wolverines’ program last season, dominating the action in a 34-11 win that could have been much, much worse had Kirby Smart not taken his foot off the gas.
It left a sour taste in the mouths of Michigan players, McCarthy explained.
It drove me so much that this victory tonight doesn’t really feel like anything,” McCarthy said. “That’s something that’s really hard to come by. I mean, back-to-back Big Ten championships is amazing, but that feeling that we had last year, this is just making sure that feeling never happens again.
“It was just a drive and a fire inside of us that was just ignited, and it’s still burning.”
Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker warned that this will not be the same Wolverines that Georgia played last season.
“We’re a different team this year,” Schoonmaker said in the ESPN story. “We have a bunch of playmakers on both sides of the ball. Even better, we can all play together, use all that great talent.”
And above all else, it seems, to get back at Georgia.
“We want revenge,” Schoonmaker said. “We want to make up for our run last year.
“I know everyone’s got that in their mind. This is amazing, I have no words for tonight, I’m so proud of everybody. But in the back of everyone’s heads, we know what we need to do.”
“This team puts in the work, man, and whoever is out in front of us we’re ready to rock,” Michigan senior receiver Ronnie Bell said on Sirius XM Radio Saturday night. “This whole program is battled tested.”