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Michigan's J.J. McCarthy Says 'Shared Suffering' of 2021 CFP Loss Inspired 2022 Run

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 27, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 03: J.J. McCarthy #9 of the Michigan Wolverines is seen before the game before the Big Ten Championship against the Purdue Boilermakers at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that last year's 34-11 loss to Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinal helped kickstart this season's success.

"It was shared suffering for sure," McCarthy said, per ESPN's Paolo Uggetti. "It jump-started the whole offseason. We hit it really hard right away ... we're still riding that now."

The 13-0 Wolverines roll into this year's CFP as the No. 2 seed, and they will play the No. 3 TCU Longhorns Saturday at 4 p.m. ET in the Fiesta Bowl.

"We're not just happy to be here, we want to get past it," McCarthy told reporters about the team's national championship aspirations.

Michigan could meet Georgia in the national championship if the No. 1 Bulldogs beat the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes.

McCarthy also noted that the team's CFP experience last year should help the team's efforts this season.

"We've been here before, we know that there's a lot of things that could distract us from the task at hand," McCarthy said, per Christopher Breiler of Wolverine Digest. "This week to prepare, we're taking it much more as a business trip instead of kind of like a vacation feel like it was in Miami last year. So I'd say the biggest difference is that we've been here before and we know what to do."

Up until 2021, Michigan hadn't been in bowl or playoff season with a chance to win a national title since 1997, when the Wolverines beat Washington State in the Rose Bowl and won it all.

This year's team now has postseason experience under its belt, however. Michigan has won back-to-back Big Ten titles and gone 25-2 since a 2-4 campaign during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

The Wolverines are sensational on both sides of the ball (No. 7 in scoring, No. 5 in points allowed in Division I FBS) and could certainly finish the year out 15-0. They outscored their opponents 521-174 and only one of their games (a 19-17 victory over Illinois) was decided by double digits.

For now, they have a date with a TCU team that was undefeated before losing to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game. A win there means a matchup with Georgia or OSU in the national championship on Monday, Jan. 9.