The 2017-18 edition of the College Football Playoff could legitimately be the most competitive ever. The two national semifinals have generally not been great games, but the Rose Bowl between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Oklahoma Sooners could be one of the very best ever.
Oklahoma Bowl History
The Sooners are playing in the College Football Playoff for the second time in their history. They played in the Orange Bowl two years ago against Clemson and lost the game.
This will mark the third straight New Year’s Six bowl appearances for the Sooners. They won the Sugar Bowl last season against Auburn.
Oklahoma will be playing in its 51st bowl game in its history, and it will be competing in a bowl game for the 19th straight season. Of those 19 postseason contests, 13 of them were BCS or New Year’s Six games.
Georgia Bowl History
Georgia has been in a bowl game every year since 1997. The ‘Dawgs, though, are playing in the New Year’s Six and the College Football Playoff for the first time in their history.
UGA hasn’t had a great history of playing in these big games. The Bulldogs last played in a BCS bowl game in 2007. They last played for the National Championship in 1980 when they won the Sugar Bowl and finished 12-0.
Why Oklahoma Will Win the Rose Bowl
Simply put, Oklahoma has the best player in the country on its side in Baker Mayfield. He broke the FBS record for yards per pass attempt in a season, averaging just shy of 12 yards per throw. There have been teams that have slowed Mayfield down for stretches, but to do so for four straight quarters has been virtually impossible.
The stigma about Oklahoma is that it doesn’t play a lot of defense. Alas, the team held a good TCU team to 37 points in two games and kept Ohio State to just 16 points in Columbus early in the campaign. Selectively, this team can come up with great defensive showings. When it does, this squad is virtually unbeatable.
Why Georgia Will Win the Rose Bowl
The path to a Rose Bowl victory for Georgia isn’t going to change from the formula that helped get it to this point. The ‘Dawgs have to run the ball and play stout defense.
Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and D’Andre Swift combined to run for over 2,700 yards this season and averaged over seven yards per carry between them. Chubb and Michel both scored 13 rushing touchdowns.
The Bulldogs ranked No. 4 in the nation in total defense and scoring defense.
Rose Bowl Prediction
The only big problem that we have with the Bulldogs is that we don’t know if Jake Fromm can really throw the ball or not when they’re behind. Georgia only faced a big deficit in one game this season, and it was the blowout loss to Auburn at Jordan-Hare.
The Sooners are going to score for sure, and it’s a matter of whether the ‘Dawgs are going to keep up or not. Chubb and Michel are only going to be able to do so much in this game, and if the UGA defense isn’t able to keep up, this game could get ugly just like so many of the other national semifinals we’ve seen in recent years.
Rose Bowl Pick: Oklahoma 40, Georgia 21
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