College Football Playoff preview: Picking the Rose Bowl

College Football Playoff preview: Picking the Rose Bowl article feature image

Welcome to College Football Playoff Rose Bowl portion of the Action Network’s 2017-18 College Football Bowl Preview. Make sure you subscribe to our Degen and Juice podcast for even more in-depth bowl previews through New Year’s Day.

This preview integrates a combination of point spreads, advanced statistics, motivational angles and coaching changes. You can follow all of my plays for free on the SportsAction App through the [App Store] or [Google Play].

All lines taken from Pinnacle as of Dec. 27th

All stats updated following the CFB regular season. All advanced stats via Football Outsiders.

Rose Bowl

Teams: Oklahoma vs. Georgia
Location: Pasadena, Calif.
Date: January 1st, 5:00 PM EST

Current CW S&P+ Total
Georgia -2.5 Georgia -0.5 Georgia -2 60


Notes: The SEC Champion takes on the Heisman Trophy winner in the Rose Bowl. Anyone that claims to be a fan of college football will make time for this excellent display of explosive passing, vicious running — and plenty of havoc from the team that hails from Athens. Baker Mayfield has had a season for the ages, racking up 41 touchdowns to just five interceptions.

It’s hard to find any advanced statistical category where Oklahoma does not lead the nation. It’s hard to overstate: Oklahoma ranks first in Rushing S&P+, Passing S&P+, standard downs success rate and passing downs success rate. Clearly, the Georgia defense will have its hands full in Pasadena.

Georgia’s defense should be up to the task. The Bulldogs’ defensive havoc rate for linebackers is ranked 11th and defensive backs 23rd, leaving Baker Mayfield facing his toughest opponent of the season. Roquan Smith will be on the prowl looking to add to his 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

The other side of the ball may be the deciding factor in this playoff semifinal. Georgia’s offense is 12th in yards per play, while Oklahoma is 65th in opponents yards per play. Fromm, Chubb and Michel should have their way dicing up this Oklahoma defense. Quarterback Jacob Fromm showed plenty of poise in the SEC Championship Game, bringing the Bulldogs to a ranking of 16th in passing explosiveness. That could create issues for a Boomer defense that is 113th in defending pass explosiveness.

Never forget about special reams. They always play a factor in deciding spread and straight up winners. Georgia ranks first overall in special teams, which should create a large advantage over Oklahoma. The Sooners are poor in punt success (98th) and kickoff return success rate (104th). Have you noticed Rodrigo Blankenship is a perfect 55 for 55 in PAT’s and has only missed two field goals this year?

Baker Mayfield will have his plays, but the Georgia rush offense, pass explosiveness, defensive havoc and special teams will be too much of the Sooners to advance in the playoff.  Look for Georgia before it possibly gets to a field goal before kick.

Useless Trends

  • Georgia is 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games
  • Oklahoma is 5-1 ATS in its last six games

The Pick: Georgia -2.5

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