Oklahoma Will Come Out Smelling Like Roses Against Georgia

Rainman M.

Friday, December 22, 2017 5:51 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 22, 2017 5:51 PM UTC


No. 2 Oklahoma (12-1) plays No. 3 Georgia (12-1) on Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. ET in the Rose Bowl semifinal of the College Football Playoff. The Dawgs are favored by 2 points, but will they be our pick?

Rose Bowl: No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners vs. No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs

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Free College Football Pick: Sooners +2Best Line Offered: BetOnline

The key for Georgia will be to limit Oklahoma’s pass attack. Georgia is 0-4 ATS when allowing 210+ passing yards.

Facing relatively weak pass attacks has inflated Georgia’s pass defense statistics. Georgia does boast the second-best pass defense overall, but it is 18th against FBS winning teams and 21st vs. ranked teams. The best offenses Georgia has faced from a Power 5 Conference have been Notre Dame (which ranks 23rd in total offense), Auburn (25th), and Mississippi State (45th). The top four offenses Georgia has faced, including Georgia Tech, which ranks 72nd, are one-dimensional, run-first teams. Only Auburn was two-dimensional in their first matchup, thanks to an amazing game from their quarterback, in which Auburn scored 40 points. Georgia has yet to face a high-caliber quarterback.

They’ll face the best quarterback in Heisman winner Baker Mayfield, who has completed 71 percent of his passes for 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He also poses a threat with his legs. Mayfield is a complete quarterback who excels in the pocket but can also buy time to make a play anywhere down the field.

Mayfield, unlike Georgia’s pass defense, is well-tested. He has twice dominated TCU’s defense, which was ranked in the top-10 before facing Oklahoma, and which had limited Heisman candidate Mason Rudolph to one of his worst games of the season until TCU played conservative defense with a big lead. Dominating TCU even a second time is impressive considering TCU coach Gary Patterson’s reputation for being a master tactician.

Defensively, Oklahoma’s defense can do enough. The defense is underrated because of how poor their statistics are. They were in a shootout with Oklahoma State, which involved so many quick scores that prevented the defense from acquiring sufficient rest. They also had early season issues against Baylor and Iowa State that they worked out. Oklahoma’s defense has been good in spurts. They held Ohio State to 16 points. Later in the season, they allowed seven points in the final three quarters against Texas Tech’s 17th-ranked total offense and shut out TCU in the second half of the Big 12 Championship.

Oklahoma’s defense will likely concentrate on limiting Georgia’s rush attack and make Georgia’s freshman quarterback beat them. Ultimately, Georgia won’t be able to stay one-dimensional but will need Jake Fromm to make plays in order to keep pace with Oklahoma’s offense. Fromm’s performance has never won his team a game. He has been riding the coattails of his running game and defense. He did show against Notre Dame that he can come up with big plays in crunch time, but he had his worst passer rating of the season in that game and won only because Georgia’s defense kept containing ND’s offense and giving Georgia’s offense enough chances.

OU will run away with this game behind its balanced offense. Mayfield has a superb support cast, as Rodney Anderson and Troy Sermon average 6 yards per carry and have combined for 16 rushing touchdowns and seven receiving touchdowns. Five players have at least 20 catches with more than 15 yards per catch, a reception of more than 50 yards and at least three touchdowns.

The Verdict

Oklahoma will win because it has the best player on the field in Baker Mayfield. OU’s top-ranked offense will shock Georgia with its playmakers and balance. OU’s defense will be good enough on our NCAAF Picks.

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