3 keys and a prediction for College Football Playoff National Championship Game

Breaking down the keys for Michigan football and Washington, as well as a prediction for the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) pass the ball during the Sugar Bowl College
Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) pass the ball during the Sugar Bowl College / Sara Diggins/American-Statesman / USA
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7:45 PM EST . ESPN . 14-0. Michigan -4.5 . CFP National Championship Game . 485. 14-0. 521. Monday, Jan. 8th

We are just a couple of days away from the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. College football fans just have to get through the weekend and if you need an appetizer, the FCS national title game is on Sunday.

The college football world is focused on Washington and Michigan football for good reason. It's No. 1 vs. No. 2 and after each team won a College Football Playoff game that came down to the last play, most are expecting another exciting game on Monday night.

That's never a guarantee but it's safe to say that we should have a more competitive College Football Playoff National Championship Game than we did last season and here are three keys to deciding who wins this game, plus our prediction at the end.

Michael Penix needs to be superman

If Washington is going to beat Michigan on Monday night, Michael Penix Jr. is going to have to have the game of his life. He did against Texas, throwing for 430 yards. But this Michigan football defense is a lot better than Texas, especially at defending the pass.

Will Johnson, when healthy as he is now, might be the best cover cornerback in college football. He's held his own against Marvin Harrison Jr., so Washington might not have the huge advantage it usually does with Rome Odunze. That matchup is another key in its own right.

But Penix is going to have to distribute the ball. He's going to face the best defense he's probably ever faced and he can't afford many mistakes. When it gets in the red zone, Washington has to score. They can't turn the ball over and Penix has to play like Joe Burrow, which he's capable of doing.