When is the 2024 CFP National Championship Game: Date, start time for Michigan vs Washington

After all the excitement and Pop-Tart sacrifies of bowl season, the time has finally come for the biggest game of the college football season: the national championship game, featuring the Michigan Wolverines and the Washington Huskies. The game will be a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the country, both a perfect 13-0 in the regular season. Between the dominant play of Washington QB Michael Penix Jr., questions about whether this could be the last time we see Jim Harbaugh coach for Michigan, and all the history on the line for both teams in the final year of the four-team playoff format, the national championship is widely expected to deliver the fireworks.

See below for key information on the 2024 national championship game, including date, game start time, and notable storylines.

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When is the College Football Playoff National Championship Game?

The CFP national championship game between the No. 2 Washington Huskies and the No. 1 Michigan Wolverines will take place Monday, January 8th at 7:30pm ET. Coverage airs on ESPN.

What time is the CFP national championship?

The 2024 national championship game will start at 7:30pm ET on Monday, January 8th.

How did Michigan get the national championship game?

Michigan put together a dominant regular season in 2023, finishing 13-0 and scoring 24+ points in all of their games. The Wolverines steamrolled Iowa to become Big Ten champions and ended the regular season as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. After losing in the CFP semifinals in each of the last two years, Michigan bested Alabama 27-20 in overtime in the Rose Bowl, which doubled as a CFP semifinal game, to make it to their first national championship game in the CFP era.

The Wolverines are led by junior QB J.J. McCarthy and senior RB Blake Corum, and have made it to the sport's biggest stage despite early-season tumult at the coaching level. Head coach Jim Harbaugh served a school-imposed three-game suspension as part of a sign-stealing investigation, but the team had no issues in his absence. Now entering the championship game, there's questions of whether Harbaugh will leave Ann Arbor at the end of this season to take on an NFL coaching job, although he's remained mum on the subject. If Harbaugh is leaving Michigan, a national title would surely be the dream way to go out.

READ MORE: Michigan beats Alabama 27-20 in overtime on Blake Corum’s TD run to reach national title game

How did Washington get to the national championship game?

The Washington Huskies also finished the 2023 regular season a perfect 13-0, with statement wins against Oregon, USC, Utah and Oregon State. The team is led by quarterback Michael Penix Jr., a sixth-year player who's come back from two ACL tears and mutiple major shoulder injuries to become one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in college football. He's also throwing to a talented group of receivers, including Rome Odunze, Ja'Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan. In the final year of the Pac-12 Conference, the Huskies defeated the Oregon Ducks 34-31 in the conference championship game and went into the College Football Playoff as the No. 2 ranked team in the country.

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Washington faced Texas in the Sugar Bowl, which doubled as a CFP semifinal, and while the final score was a close 37-31 with Texas threatening in the final seconds, Washington was largely the better team. Penix finished with a stunning 430 passing yards, going 29/38 for two touchdowns, and the Huskies had two receivers over 120 yards (Odunze finished with 125 and Polk tallied 122).

While Michigan is much closer to being a college football "Blue Blood," this Washington team is just two seasons removed from finishing 4-8 in 2021. Like Michigan, Washington has never appeared in the national championship game in the CFP poll era, and this year, they'll be doing so against a future conference foe, with the Huskies set to join the Big Ten as part of massive conference re-alignment in the 2024-25 season.