It’s The Granddaddy of them All as No. 6 Ohio State takes on No. 9 Washington in the one and only Rose Bowl. While the College Football Playoff gets the majority of the attention these days, for my money there is no more magnificent bowl game in college football than the Rose Bowl, even when it’s not hosting a CFP semifinal. There’s just something about the classic matchup of a Big Ten champion squaring off against a Pac-12 champion in one of the most picturesque settings imaginable. Everything from the perfectly manicured grass to the paint schemes feels like college football, and it’s an experience every college football fan should try to experience in person if possible.
This year’s matchup between Ohio State and Washington should be a dandy. This will be the 12th meeting between the schools, and the first time since 2007. What’s even more surprising is that both schools will be making their 15th appearance in the Rose Bowl, tied with Stanford for third most all-time (USC has 34 while Michigan has 20), yet they’ve never played one another in this game. Washington is 7-6-1 in its 14 appearances while Ohio State is 7-7.
Event: Rose Bowl
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 1 | Time: 5 p.m. ET
Location: The Rose Bowl — Pasadena, California
TV: ESPN | Live stream: WatchESPN
Ohio State: The Buckeyes have accomplished a lot under Urban Meyer, but this will be the team’s first time playing in the Rose Bowl under him, and the timing couldn’t be better considering this will be Meyer’s final game as Ohio State’s coach. The Buckeyes enter the game as Big Ten champs with a record of 12-1, their seventh consecutive season with at least 10 wins under Meyer. Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins, who finished third in Heisman Trophy voting, is three touchdown passes shy of 50 on the season. If he can get there, he’ll be the first Power 5 quarterback since Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford in 2008 to throw for 50 touchdowns in a single season.
Washington: The Pac-12 champs enter the game with a 10-3 record and have won 10 games in three consecutive seasons for the first time in program history. The Huskies are also playing in their ninth straight bowl game which ties a program record set from 1979-87. In other words, Chris Petersen’s program is humming along, even if it fell a bit short of its preseason aspirations of a College Football Playoff berth. This is the first time Washington has been to the Rose Bowl since 2000, and it will be the final games of both QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin. Both Browning and Gaskin have rewritten the record books at Washington during their careers, as both will leave school as the program’s all-time leaders in yards and touchdowns (passing for Browning, rushing for Gaskin).
Game prediction, picks
Ohio State has one of the most explosive offenses in the country, and as we saw earlier this season against Michigan, it’s proven it can score against any defense, no matter how good it is. And it will be facing another good one in the Washington Huskies. Still, I think this Washington offense — particularly Gaskin — will be able to move the ball against an Ohio State defense that’s been prone to allowing big plays all season long. So this could be a fun, back-and-forth affair. I have a hard time thinking the Buckeyes won’t win in Urban Meyer’s final game, but I have a harder time thinking a Chris Petersen team won’t manage to cover the spread in a bowl game. Pick: Washington +6.5
Who wins Ohio State vs. Washington? And what crucial X-factor causes one side of the spread to hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump all over in the Rose Bowl, all from the data scientist who’s on an impressive 11-0 run on his spread picks involving the Buckeyes.