Georgia vs. Oklahoma: Rose Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Georgia vs. Oklahoma: Rose Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Big 12

Georgia vs. Oklahoma: Rose Bowl Prediction, Game Preview


Three reasons why you should watch the College Football Playoff Semifinal Rose Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.

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College Football Playoff: Rose Bowl
Georgia (12-1) vs. Oklahoma (12-1)


Date: Monday, January 1st
Game Time: 5:00 pm
Venue: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
Network: ABC

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The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 
2 out of 39

2017-2018 Bowl Central: Schedules, Picks, Love
CFN Expert Consensus Confidence Picks

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Rose Bowl

Amazingly, it’s the first time these two have ever played each other. Even more amazing is the setting – it’ll be a fish-out-water game for both teams in a dead-even neutral site.

It’s the Rose Bowl, it’s New Year’s Day, and it’s the early game in the College Football Playoff. The optics will be fantastic.

This is Georgia’s second Rose Bowl – beating UCLA 9-0 in 1943 – and the second for OU, too, taking down Washington State in 2003.

Can the new blood step up and shine? Oklahoma has been to the CFP, Alabama has been in all three, and Clemson has done it up in the last two – Georgia is the newbie, and it should bring a different sort of energy.

That’s not to say the Oklahoma fan base won’t bring the excitement and the fire, but this year’s CFP opener should have a different sort of feel.

Last year, Washington seemed more like it was just happy to be there – that was an Alabama crowd in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

The Orange Bowl in Year Two of the CFP had more of a Clemson feel in the late afternoon game, and Oregon fans invaded the Rose Bowl in the inaugural playoff year – FSU fans made the trip to Pasadena the year before to see the Noles win the final BCS Championship.

Get ready for a jacked up excitement level from these two fan bases.

It’s the start of the new era of young gun head coaches. Oklahoma head man Lincoln Riley is just 34 years old, and Georgia head coach Kirby Smart just turned 42.

Both coaches hit the ground running with their respective programs. Both were able to take great situations and make them better. Both will be around for a long, long time. This should be the first of many trips to the CFP for these two – if all goes according to plan.

Here’s Why Georgia Will Win The Rose Bowl

There’s no reason to get too crazy about this – Georgia will run the ball. At least, it’ll come out trying to grind it out with its fantastic backfield.

The time off should do Nick Chubb and Sony Michel a world of good. They were more than fine late in the season, but they’ll have the fresher legs against a Sooner defense that allowed over 200 yards four times this year.

Most of the time, offenses had to throw to try keeping up the pace, but the Sooners did have a few nice moments up front in wins over Ohio State and TCU – twice. However, this Georgia ground attack is something different.

Baker, meet Roquan. The Sooners might have the reigning Heisman winner, but Baker Mayfield has to deal with the best linebacking corps he’s seen all year, and – with all due respect to Ohio State – it isn’t all that close.

Roquan Smith leads a killer group of Bulldog playmakers who can do a little bit of everything right. Smith would’ve led the team in tackles on his solo stops along, but he’s also a pass rusher with 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss.

The speed and athleticism of the Georgia veteran linebacking should keep Mayfield from ever getting comfortable – he can’t be allowed to run around and be a baller.

The D will take its chances that Mayfield is Mayfield from the pocket – he’ll have his moments – but the defense was able to figure out Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham the second time around, minimized the damage against Missouri’s Drew Lock, and stopped Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald cold.

For all of the good things Oklahoma does with the No. 1 offense in college football, it’s surprisingly mediocre on third downs. The defense is okay at getting off the field, but it’s not a killer.

The Georgia formula is simple. Run well early, set up manageable third down tries. Convert. Repeat.

Georgia connected on over 47% of its tries this year, and that’s despite being stuffed by Auburn twice. The Bulldogs have to own the clock, and they have to keep No. 6 on the sidelines.

Here’s Why Oklahoma Will Win The Rose Bowl

The guy might be sick, but he’s still Baker Mayfield. As is, he’s in the Greatest College Quarterback of All-Time team photo, and he’s like nothing Georgia has dealt with all season long.

The numbers are historic, hitting 71% of his throws with 41 touchdowns and five picks and five rushing touchdowns. He’s a veteran with three Big Ten titles and a trip to the College Football Playoff two years ago under his belt. His counterpart – Jake Fromm – might be mature beyond his freshman years, but it’s freshman vs. Heisman-winning senior.

Georgia was dead last in the SEC in passing offense – it can’t get behind. Mayfield can get down early and everything will be fine. Georgia can’t let this become a shootout.

Okay, so how did Auburn get the job done the first time around, and can the Sooners do the same? The Tiger offensive line lined up and blasted away on the Georgia defensive front.

As good as the Bulldogs are, especially in the linebacking corps, no one other than Auburn did much to pound away. Notre Dame, Mississippi State, and even Florida didn’t go smashmouth on the Dawgs, and Auburn – after dealing with Georgia and Alabama – wasn’t itself in the SEC Championship game, especially with star RB Kerryon Johnson limited.

As much as the game might be about Mayfield, OU could make this about getting nasty. Let the great offensive line take control, let Rodney Anderson and Trey Sermon rumble, and beat Georgia as its own game.

Oklahoma just doesn’t give up fumbles, not losing one since the October 21st win over Kansas State, and with just that one over the last eight games.

As a program, Oklahoma is 17-0 when winning the turnover margin, with the last loss coming to that loaded TCU team in the middle of 2014.

Georgia doesn’t screw up, either, with just 13 giveaways on the year, but it doesn’t open up the offense like OU does. If the big plays start to pile up, the Sooners will take their chances that they’ll force the bigger mistakes.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Rose Bowl

Flugate seems to be a thing. No one’s thinking for a second that Baker Mayfield is dogging it or isn’t really sick – he didn’t sound or look like himself at media day on Saturday.

Even if he feels better, these are long, long, LONG games, with OU needing to be ready to roll for four hours. How long can No. 6 hold up before he starts to drain down?

His game is all about being feisty, edgy, and having an attitude. From all indications, at least on Saturday, he was all about going back to sleep.

Is there any real reason the opening act games have been such duds? The first College Football Playoff openers haven’t been all that great, but this should be the strongest matchup of the four CFPs so far. 

Oregon and Florida State was a 2-3 matchup in the first year, as was Clemson-Oklahoma in Year Two. Last season, Alabama beat Washington in a 1-4 battle, and now it’s back to being the No. 2 vs. No. 3 with the Bulldogs and the Sooners.

The College Football Playoff is overdue for a fantastic opening leading into the supposed main event. This one should bring it.

Part of the problem with dealing with Oklahoma is the depth at receiver. There might not be a Dede Westbrook or Sterling Shepard, but the offense doesn’t need one – Mayfield spreads the ball around to everyone.

Seven different Sooners have three touchdown catches or more, with a little bit of something for everything Georgia will try to deal with.

Yup, the Bulldogs have the nation’s second-best pass defense. But Missouri and Auburn are the only teams on the schedule so far that could throw a forward pass. If Mayfield is Mayfield, uh oh.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Rose Bowl?

There’s no such thing as a Team of Destiny thing, but Georgia appears to have just the right blend in all phases to pull this off.

The running game will take control right away, the defense that had a month to prepare for Mayfield will do just enough – and will be helped a bit by his illness – to slow down the machine.

Georgia has to run for 200 yards, and it will. The two times it didn’t hit the mark were against Notre Dame in the close call, and the loss to Auburn the first time around. It’ll hit the 200-yard mark against OU, offsetting a good effort by Mayfield.

Final Score

Georgia 37, Oklahoma 30
More Bowl Info & Get Tickets


Georgia -2.5, o/u: 60

ATS Confidence: 3
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar

Must See Rating: 5
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas

Rose Bowl History, Results

Jan. 2, 2017 USC 52, Penn State 49
Jan. 1, 2016 Stanford 45 Iowa 16
Jan. 1, 2015 Oregon 59 Florida State 20
Jan. 1, 2014 Michigan State 24 Stanford 20
Jan. 1, 2013 Stanford 20 Wisconsin 14
Jan. 2, 2012 Oregon 45 Wisconsin 38
Jan. 1, 2011 TCU 21 Wisconsin 19
Jan. 1, 2010 Ohio State 26 Oregon 17
Jan. 1, 2009 USC 38 Penn State 24
Jan. 1, 2008 USC 49 Illinois 17
Jan. 1, 2007 USC 32 Michigan 18
Jan. 4, 2006 Texas 41 USC 38
Jan. 1, 2005 Texas 38 Michigan 37
Jan. 1, 2004 USC 28 Michigan 14
Jan. 1, 2003 Oklahoma 34 Washington State 14
Jan. 3, 2002 Miami 37 Nebraska 14
Jan. 1, 2001 Washington 34 Purdue 24
Jan. 1, 2000 Wisconsin 17 Stanford 9
Jan. 1, 1999 Wisconsin 38 UCLA 31
Jan. 1, 1998 Michigan 21 Washington State 16
Jan. 1, 1997 Ohio State 20 Arizona State 17
Jan. 1, 1996 USC 41 Northwestern 32
Jan. 2, 1995 Penn State 38 Oregon 20
Jan. 1, 1994 Wisconsin 21 UCLA 16
Jan. 1, 1993 Michigan 38 Washington 31
Jan. 1, 1992 Washington 34 Michigan 14
Jan. 1, 1991 Washington 46 Iowa 34
Jan. 1, 1990 USC 17 Michigan 10
Jan. 2, 1989 Michigan 22 USC 14
Jan. 1, 1988 Michigan State 20 USC 17
Jan. 1, 1987 Arizona State 22 Michigan 15
Jan. 1, 1986 UCLA 45 Iowa 28
Jan. 1, 1985 USC 20 Ohio State 17
Jan. 2, 1984 UCLA 45 Illinois 9
Jan. 1, 1983 UCLA 24 Michigan 14
Jan. 1, 1982 Washington 28 Iowa 0
Jan. 1, 1981 Michigan 23 Washington 6
Jan. 1, 1980 USC 17 Ohio State 16
Jan. 1, 1979 USC 17 Michigan 10
Jan. 2, 1978 Washington 27 Michigan 20
Jan. 1, 1977 USC 14 Michigan 6
Jan. 1, 1976 UCLA 23 Ohio State 10
Jan. 1, 1975 USC 18 Ohio State 17
Jan. 1, 1974 Ohio State 42 USC 21
Jan. 1, 1973 USC 42 Ohio State 17
Jan. 1, 1972 Stanford 13 Michigan 12
Jan. 1, 1971 Stanford 27 Ohio State 17
Jan. 1, 1970 USC 10 Michigan 3
Jan. 1, 1969 Ohio State 27 USC 16
Jan. 1, 1968 USC 14 Indiana 3
Jan. 2, 1967 Purdue 14 USC 13
Jan. 1, 1966 UCLA 14 Michigan State 12
Jan. 1, 1965 Michigan 34 Oregon State 7
Jan. 1, 1964 Illinois 17 Washington 7
Jan. 1, 1963 USC 42 Wisconsin 37
Jan. 2, 1962 Minnesota 21 UCLA 3
Jan. 2, 1961 Washington 17 Minnesota 7
Jan. 1, 1960 Washington 44 Wisconsin 8
Jan. 1, 1959 Iowa 38 California 12
Jan. 1, 1958 Ohio State 10 Oregon 7
Jan. 1, 1957 Iowa 35 Oregon State 19
Jan. 2, 1956 Michigan State 17 UCLA 14
Jan. 1, 1955 Ohio State 20 USC 7
Jan. 1, 1954 Michigan State 28 UCLA 20
Jan. 1, 1953 USC 7 Wisconsin 0
Jan. 1, 1952 Illinois 40 Stanford 7
Jan. 1, 1951 Michigan 14 California 6
Jan. 2, 1950 Ohio State 17 California 14
Jan. 1, 1949 Northwestern 20 California 14
Jan. 1, 1948 Michigan 49 USC 0
Jan. 1, 1947 Illinois 45 UCLA 14
Jan. 1, 1946 Alabama 34 USC 14
Jan. 1, 1945 USC 25 Tennessee 0
Jan. 1, 1944 USC 29 Washington 0
Jan. 1, 1943 Georgia 9 UCLA 0
Jan. 1, 1942 Oregon State 20 Duke 16
Jan. 1, 1941 Stanford 21 Nebraska 13
Jan. 1, 1940 USC 14 Tennessee 0
Jan. 2, 1939 USC 7 Duke 3
Jan. 1, 1938 California 13 Alabama 0
Jan. 1, 1937 Pittsburgh 21 Washington 0
Jan. 1, 1936 Stanford 7 SMU 0
Jan. 1, 1935 Alabama 29 Stanford 13
Jan. 1, 1934 Columbia 7 Stanford 0
Jan. 2, 1933 USC 35 Pittsburgh 0
Jan. 1, 1932 USC 21 Tulane 12
Jan. 1, 1931 Alabama 24 Washington State 0
Jan. 1, 1930 USC 47 Pittsburgh 14
Jan. 1, 1929 Georgia Tech 8 California 7
Jan. 2, 1928 Stanford 7 Pittsburgh 6
Jan. 1, 1927 Stanford 7 Alabama 7
Jan. 1, 1926 Alabama 20 Washington 19
Jan. 1, 1925 Notre Dame 27 Stanford 10
Jan. 1, 1924 Washington 14 Navy 14
Jan. 1, 1923 USC 14 Penn State 3
Jan. 2, 1922 California 0 Wash. & Jeff. 0
Jan. 1, 1921 California 28 Ohio State 0
Jan. 1, 1920 Harvard 7 Oregon 6
Jan. 1, 1919 Great Lakes-US Navy 17 Mare Island 0
Jan. 1, 1918 Mare Island-USMC 19 Camp Lewis-US Army 7
Jan. 1, 1917 Oregon 14 Pennsylvania 0
Jan. 1, 1916 Washington State 14 Brown 0
Jan. 1, 1902 Michigan 49 Stanford 0


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