The holiday season brings the college football bowl season with it, and we have a throwback New Year’s Day Rose Bowl matchup this year between the University of Washington Huskies and Ohio State University Buckeyes.
The Rose Bowl traditionally pitted the champion of what’s now the Pac-12 against the champion of what’s now the B1G. That tradition changed upon the adoption of the BCS championship game in the 1998 season, meaning the Rose Bowl now rarely features the champs of the both the Pac-12 and the B1G, and often includes a team that’s not even a member of one of those conferences.
But this year we have a true Rose Bowl matchup, as Washington won the Pac-12 championship and Ohio State won the B1G title. So for traditionalists this is the way things should be.
This is the 15th Rose Bowl appearance for both schools. Washington is 7-6-1, while Ohio State is 7-7. Amazingly, however, this is the first time the two teams have faced one another in the Rose Bowl.
Ohio State comes into the game 12-1 and ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press poll. The Buckeyes had an argument for making the College Football Playoff, but finished sixth in the final rankings to just miss out. Washington enters the contest 10-3 and is ranked No. 9 in the AP poll.
The big news surrounding this game involves Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. Meyer, the highly successful but controversial head coach, announced he is retiring following the Rose Bowl. So no doubt the Buckeyes want a big sendoff for him.
What also makes this game intriguing is that it’s a true case of strength versus strength.
Ohio State is perhaps the nation’s most feared passing team. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins leads the nation in both passing yards (4,580) and passing touchdowns (47), and the Buckeyes rank eighth in FBS in scoring offense at 43.5 points per game. Ohio State dropped an astounding 62 points against a supposedly vaunted Michigan defense when the teams met on Nov. 24.
Meanwhile, Washington’s greatest asset is it’s secondary. The Huskies are blessed with a plethora of future NFLers in their secondary, and as a result Washington has one of the best defenses in the nation. The Huskies are tied for fifth in FBS in scoring defense, allowing 15.5 points per game, and they’re 21st in passing defense, allowing just 185.4 yards through the air per contest. Washington showed what it can do against a top passing offense when it shut down Washington State and Gardner Minshew in the Apple Cup.
The current betting line has Ohio State as a 6.5-point favorite.
The game is at 2 p.m. PST on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, California. It’s being televised on ESPN.
So who do you have in the Rose Bowl? Make your prediction here: