Michigan football finished off an undefeated regular season with a 26-0 shutout of Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game this past Saturday. Following the game, Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh and his team rested up and awaited word on their next opponent in the forthcoming College Football Playoff.

The latest predictions have Michigan football dropping their opening game for the third consecutive year to Coach Nick Saban's Crimson Tide. Harbaugh called the showdown against Saban and Alabama “iconic” heading into the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif.

The Michigan football coach praised Alabama star quarterback Jalen Milroe during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

“He’s playing at an elite level, and you can see the improvement throughout the season,” Harbaugh said. “Just really seems like he hit an inflection point there right before the halfway mark.”

“He’s playing really well within the system,” Harbaugh added. “They’ve designed some great stuff for him. We have a similar quarterback, so we have just noticed the level he’s playing at. He’s elite.”

The Wolverines are the No. 1 overall seed in the playoff but have lost their last two opening-round playoff games.

Last season, TCU beat the Wolverines 51-45 as star Michigan football running back Blake Corum sat out due to injury. Backup running back Donovan Edwards, the star of the 2022 Michigan football win over the Ohio State Buckeyes, was also suffering with a nagging injury at the time.

For Michigan football to knock off the SEC juggernaut Alabama football on Jan. 5 at 5 p.m. ET, it will take a total team effort — something Harbaugh has preached ever since the field of four teams was announced, turning the Michigan buzzword ‘BET' into an acronym (“bringing everyone together”).