COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 23 Rutgers at Michigan
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No. 1 Michigan and No. 4 Alabama are in a tight battle on Monday at the Rose Bowl with the Wolverines holding a 13-10 advantage over the Crimson Tide at the half of their College Football Playoff semifinal showdown. Alabama took the early advantage with a touchdown run from Jase McClellan, but Michigan answered back with two scores of its own as the Wolverines defensive line has wreaked havoc on the Tide offense through two quarters.

Both teams entered the game under some controversial circumstances. Alabama received the No. 4 seed ahead of a 13-0 ACC champion: No. 5 Florida State. The one-loss Crimson Tide were riding the strength of beating No. 6 Georgia the day prior in the SEC Championship Game, while the Seminoles were penalized for limping to an ACC title without starting quarterback Jordan Travis

Michigan, meanwhile, is 13-0, but coach Jim Harbaugh wasn't on the sideline for six of those games due to two different three-game suspensions -- one for recruiting violations and another for a sign-stealing scandal that captivated the nation for most of the season.

Whether you're a college football traditionalist or somebody who prefers chaos, there's something for everybody here. 

Follow along with LIVE UPDATES as Michigan battles Alabama in the Rose Bowl CFP semifinal game.

How to watch Rose Bowl live

Date: Monday, Jan. 1 | Time: 5 p.m. ET
Location: The Rose Bowl -- Pasadena, California
TV: ESPN | Live stream: Fubo (Try for free)
For a limited time, new subscribers can save $20 on Fubo's Pro, Elite and Premier plans.

Michigan vs. Alabama: Need to know

No team has more CFP experience than Alabama: The Tide are making their eighth appearance in the College Football Playoff, which is two more than the next closest team (Clemson, which has six). The Rose Bowl marks Alabama's 14th CFP game, which is four more than Clemson's 10 contests. Alabama has won the CFP three times and reached the championship game six times. The only time it failed to win its semifinal was the first year of the CFP era (2014) when it lost to Ohio State 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl.

Michigan is making its third consecutive CFP trip: The Wolverines are a case study in how results affect perception. This will be their third College Football Playoff appearance. That matches Georgia, but the difference is in the results. Georgia reached the title game in all three of its CFP appearances, winning the last two. Michigan, meanwhile, has yet to win a playoff game. It was crushed by Georgia 34-11 in the 2021 Orange Bowl and upset 51-45 by TCU in last season's Fiesta Bowl. It's one thing to get to the CFP, it's another to win once you're there. Michigan is hoping the third time will prove the charm.

This will be the fourth Rose Bowl semifinal game: The first College Football Playoff game ever was hosted by the Rose Bowl, and it wasn't competitive. Oregon blew out Florida State, 59-20. The last time the game was played in Pasadena, California, it was a similar result as Alabama spanked Notre Dame 31-14 during the 2020 season. However, the 2017 game between Georgia and Oklahoma was one of the greatest College Football Playoff semifinals we've ever seen. Georgia beat Oklahoma 54-48 in double overtime to send the Bulldogs to the title game, where they lost (in overtime once more) to Alabama. Let's hope this year's Rose Bowl is more like the 2017 game than the 2014 or 2020 versions.

Rose Bowl prediction, picks

Odds via SportsLine consensus

You can argue all you want about whether Alabama deserves to be here, but there's one thing nobody can dispute: The Crimson Tide can win this thing. That doesn't mean they will; this Alabama team is probably one of the weakest teams of the Nick Saban era (his first season excluded), but the context of that sentence is important. The weakest Alabama team of Saban's tenure is still a team capable of beating 99% of the teams it faces. 

The truth is this game can honestly swing in either direction, but considering the history of these teams in the CFP it's kind of hard to pass up on Alabama getting points against a Michigan team that's yet to win a playoff game. The Tide have captured three national titles in this format and won more playoff games (nine) than any other program. Maybe Michigan's first CFP win will come in the Rose Bowl against Alabama, but I need proof of concept before I bet on it. Pick: Alabama -1.5

Which college football picks can you make with confidence during bowl season? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned well over $2,000 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons -- and find out.