This years Rose Bowl game features two teams battling in a semi-final matchup for a spot in the College Football Championship game. It will be a pair of 12-1 teams, the Georgia Bulldogs and the Oklahoma Sooners, playing in Pasadena on New Years Day. The winner gets a chance against either Alabama or Clemson to win the College Football Championship on January 8th at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Longtime Sooners Head Coach Bob Stoops leads his team into the game against 2nd year Georgia coach Kirby Smart in a game that is expected to be a close one. In only his second season as the Bulldogs head man, Smart has led his team to the College Football Playoffs and on the brink of a championship. On the other hand, Stoops has one championship under his belt (2000) as well as a total of 10 Big 12 titles.
The game is expected to feature arguably the best offensive player in the nation against the best defensive player. For Oklahoma, Heisman trophy winner Baker Mayfield leads the Bulldogs as a seasoned veteran leader and playmaker. Georgia will counter with linebacker Roquan Smith who owns the Butkus award as the nations best linebacker and who most feel is the best defensive player overall.
But it’s at the quarterback position that most experts think the game may be won or lost. Like him or not, Mayfield has a closet full of awards this year and the senior wants to end his college career by going all the way. He is smart, skilled and has the intensity and mentality to make plays when most needed.
On the other side, Georgia will have a true freshman under center as Jake Fromm will lead the Bulldogs. Fromm took the reins early in the year when Jacob Eason went down with an injury and hasn’t looked back since.
With that being said, it could actually be the running attacks that dictate the outcome of this game. Georgia has a stellar run game that features two senior backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. They are complemented by several other backs who the Bulldogs use to keep everyone fresh and running hard. If the Sooners defense can limit the run game, Georgia will need to rely on the freshman quarterback to make some key plays.
Regardless, I’m guessing if the Sooners offensive line can give Mayfield some time to find his receivers, it could be a long day for Georgia fans. But if the Bulldogs can get pressure up front, and force him into mistakes, the tide could shift in favor of Georgia.
Vegas oddsmakers have this game as either a pick em or a slight 2 point edge to Georgia. Either way, the game should be an exciting one, and with so much on the line you won’t want to miss it.
Prediction: Oklahoma in a slim win behi