There’s been much anticipation for Georgia’s first Rose Bowl appearance since 1943. Baker Mayfield has taken the college football world by storm, capping it off with a Big XII Title and a Heisman Trophy. Vegas has this game close, giving a slight two-point edge (at the time this was written) to the Bulldogs.
If you look throughout the national media, you’ll hear everything from the crowning of Oklahoma as national champions, to Bama-Clemson III being the defacto title game. But what about Georgia? How much talk have you heard other than Jake Fromm being a freshman quarterback to the Dawgs not being able to handle the big stage?
Probably not much.
Here is where we dive into the matchup, and some of the findings may be alarming to some, and no surprise to others.
1) Georgia’s defense – If you look at Georgia’s defense throughout the season, the only two matchups that could compare to Oklahoma’s offense would be Missouri and Auburn. First to Missouri, where we can admit Drew Lock was able to get his in the vertical game in the first half as the Tigers scored 21 in the first half. In the second half though, the Dawgs’ defense locked in and shut them down to a 53-28 win. The first meeting with Auburn saw undisciplined play which led to Jarrett Stidham having his way in the Dawgs’ only loss of the season.
2) Jim Chaney’s Offensive Gameplan – Here’s something that not many people are talking about and could be a big factor. Chaney’s had his criticisms with offensive play-calling in the past with the lack of using Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. That hasn’t been the case as of late. However, big games seem to bring out the temptation to get cute and over think it. There’s nothing extraordinary about this Oklahoma defense. They’ve shown they can get torched in the pass game and the run game. Kansas State had two 100-yard rushers in the Sooners’ 42-35 win. What does that tell you? The Bulldogs can gash this defense on the ground. The question that hasn’t been asked, will Chaney stick to his bread and butter or overthink it and try to go to the air.
3) Baker Mayfield – I’m sure if you read the hot-take message boards, the Sooner fan base will say Oklahoma’s offense will gash the Dawgs’ defense. They’re basing this on the fact that Baker Mayfield has been torching defenses that are an average of a 75th ranked in total defense. Mayfield, in his career, is 8-7 against teams ranked in the top 50 in total defense and 2-3 against top 15 total defenses (Wins being over Akron and Ohio State). Georgia’s rank in total defense is fourth.
You won’t hear this in many places, but the Dawgs should win by double digits based on matchups. The only way Georgia loses this game is if the same defense that showed up in Jordan-Hare shows up in Pasadena, and if Chaney tries to get cute and overthink it.