The College Football Playoff, whether you agree with the teams or not, is upon us on New Years. In the first game of the playoff, we go to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. It’s an honor to play in the Rose Bowl to begin with, but with a trip to the National Championship on the line, it makes it all the more intriguing. The only thing weird here are the teams playing in the Rose Bowl.
I’ve always grown accustomed to the Pac-12 vs. Big Ten in this game. This game of course features the Georgia Bulldogs of the SEC and Oklahoma Sooners of the Big-12. Georgia was a lock to be in the playoff after beating Auburn in the SEC Championship. The winner of the SEC essentially gets an auto-bid to the National Championship and Georgia took care of Auburn easily.
The team that some people may not agree with being here is Alabama. With a loss on their resume against Auburn, and not even a spot in the SEC Championship, there were several people who weren’t too happy with the Crimson Tide making it. After watching Ohio State annihilate USC, the debate raged on. Oklahoma, though, deserves to be at the Rose Bowl.
With Baker Mayfield spearheading the ship, the Sooners have a real chance to win the National Championship. The last time we were in this spot, Oklahoma was knocked out in the first-round, suffering a loss to Clemson. The Sooners can rebound nicely this year, though. Bob Stoops is no longer here to choke away games, so maybe Lincoln Riley can revert their big game failures. It certainly feels like this isn’t the same Oklahoma team who couldn’t perform in big spots.
Oklahoma has a glorious opportunity to prove that they can rise up and win it all. Many people believe in them from what I’m seeing. Plenty of money is coming in on Mayfield and the Sooners in the Rose Bowl. Is Georgia being disrespected a bit here? If they are, the Bulldogs don’t deserve any disrespect after that dominating performance against Auburn. It’s going to be an interesting battle between Baker Mayfield and the Georgia defense. Mayfield is going to be under the microscope by NFL scouts. A couple quality games here would propel his draft stock higher. It should be a good one in Pasadena. Head below for our free Georgia vs. Oklahoma pick in the Rose Bowl and first game of the College Football Playoff.
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Oklahoma Sooners Betting Odds:
vs. Oklahoma +2.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Georgia vs. Oklahoma Pick:
This is the perfect opportunity for Baker Mayfield to put on a show. If he wants to be taken seriously by NFL pundits, he must perform in the playoff. He’s going to have a strong defense in front of him, and if he succeeds, the scouts are going to be impressed. Not only this game, but he’s either going to play Clemson or Alabama in the National Championship, if Oklahoma wins here. So, he’s going to have a chance to make some money here. Georgia will throw everything they have at him, though. The Bulldogs’ defense was stout as they came in 2017. They allowed 271 yards per game for 4th in the FBS. Additionally, the Bulldogs gave up just 13.2 points per game, tied with Wisconsin for 3rd in the nation.
Mayfield doesn’t typically play against defenses like this in the Big-12. Two of the best defenses he played this season, he did perform well against, though. He passed for 386 yards and 3 touchdowns on the Buckeyes, and took care of TCU in two games. The Horned Frogs have an overrated defensive unit, but he did what he had to do. Georgia will be THE best defense he’s played this season. The Sooners’ offense was on fire in 2017, averaging 44.9 points per game and 583 yards. Mayfield passed for 41 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with a 71% completion percentage. Crazy numbers that can’t be ignored by pro teams. He has reportedly been sick wit the flu, but I doubt it will impact him too much.
I think the x-factor in this game is on Georgia’s side. The Bulldog defense is fantastic, and they have one of the better running games in the country with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Even D’Andre Swift packs a punch at the running back position. However, the guy who will control this game is quarterback Jake Fromm.
Only a freshman, Fromm hasn’t shown any signs of nerves this season. He’s passed for 21 touchdowns and 5 interceptions as he hasn’t looked like a freshman at all. Fromm may be the best quarterback Georgia has had since Matthew Stafford. We’ll see where his career goes from here, but it’s been perfect thus far. Oklahoma allowed 385 yards per game this season, 57th in the country. Georgia have played much better defenses this year and done pretty well against them. I think a healthy dose of Chubb and Michel is going to wear the Oklahoma defense out. Mayfield may have the Heisman, but I believe Georgia gets the win in the Rose Bowl and moves on to the National Championship.
PICK: GEORGIA -2.5 (-110)