The Grandaddy of Them All kicks off New Year’s Day at the Rose Bowl as the Utah Utes (10-3) battle the Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2).
Utah has defied the odds after a rough start to the season. They’ll look to play spoiler in the Rose Bowl as the underdog against the powerhouse that is Ohio State. Kyle Whittingham is finally getting some of the recognition he deserves as one of the best coaches in college football. He’s been very profitable in bowl games in his career, sitting with an 11-3 postseason record.
Ohio State will not be operating at full strength, as Garrett Wilson, Haskell Garrett, and Nicholas Petit-Frere will be absent. A few more notable names have been absent from practice but have not yet been announced out. Regardless of the official number of opt-outs, the names already missing signify the Buckeyes’ motivation level headed into this game. This team is talented enough to play for a national title, yet they are playing Utah, and several key pieces have opted out.
Utah’s motivation level is in no doubt. Whittingham is one of the top coaches in the entire country, and this is Utah’s first-ever Rose Bowl appearance. They finally got over the hump and captured the PAC-12 Title (in dominant fashion over Oregon, no less) and now look to cap what’s been a magical run to the season. The switch to Cam Rising at quarterback has revitalized this offense, and they could find holes against an exploitable Buckeyes defense.
It’ll be impossible to keep C.J. Stroud and this high-powered Ohio State offense off the scoreboard. Still, Utah possesses the defensive ability to keep them from making this a blowout. We think this will be a fantastic Rose Bowl game in which Utah’s coaching and motivation levels propel them to keep things razor-thin with a more talented Ohio State squad.
All CFB game predictions and picks are courtesy of SportsGrid
Sign up for Fanduel Sportsbook today and get your first bet risk-free for up to $1,000!