After a widely publicized quarterback battle last year for the starting quarterback spot, JJ McCarthy was named the Michigan Wolverines starting QB. The decision was unquestionably the right call as the Wolverines went undefeated this season and are now College Football Champions for the first time since 1997 after their win Monday.

2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
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For anyone familiar with Michigan football, there is one unique thing that their starting quarterback does every game that may be what lead to their incredible season. Every game McCarthy can be seen with a smiley face drawn on his hand, a tradition he has had since his sophomore year of high school.

Illinois v Michigan
McCarthy's smiley face drawing can be seen here. From Getty Images

The story goes that after a particularly bad game, McCarthy was signing autographs and a little girl came up and started questioning why he was in such a bad mood. He explained that he was not happy with his performance. In response, the girl did something completely unexpected that gave him a new perspective on his gameplay,

She said I needed to smile more, and she took my marker and drew a smiley face on my hand.


McCarthy said the simple moment had a "profound effect on him", and he went on to wear the smile for more games. It has now become something of a superstition for him, as well as a reminder to promote positivity.

East Carolina v Michigan
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Was this superstition the secret to his Championship winning season? We can't say for sure, but considering how well the Wolverines have played since he took over the starting spot, it would be wise not to completely dismiss the idea. To hear the story from McCarthy's mouth, the interview is below.

15 Most Important Games In The Michigan vs Michigan State Rivalry

Michigan and Michigan State have been battling it out on the gridiron since 1898. You can imagine that playing each other for that long will lead to a pretty heated rivalry. The Michigan / Michigan State rivalry is one of the best in all of sports. There have been many moments that helped to build that rivalry over the years. Check out 15 of the most important games over the decades of the Backyard Brawl.

Gallery Credit: Getty Images

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