Ohio State (12-1) vs. Washington (10-3)
Location: Pasadena, CA | When: Jan. 1 (5 p.m. ET) | TV: ESPN | Line: Ohio State -7
HOW THESE TEAMS GOT HERE
Ohio State: This is old hat by now, right? Ohio State started the season at 7-0 before getting blitzed by Purdue. The Buckeyes then went 3-0 after that to get to 10-1 before playing Michigan on the final week of the season. A 62-39 thumping of the Wolverines meant Ohio State advanced to the Big Ten Championship Game where it beat Northwestern 45-24. Oh, and there’s Urban Meyer being suspended for the first three games of the season, coming back, clearly being in pain on the sideline during games and then announcing his retirement at the end of the season.
Washington: It wasn’t a straightforward path for the Pac-12 title for Washington. The Huskies lost at Oregon and Cal in October in addition to a loss against Auburn in Week 1. But thanks to the Pac-12’s lack of strength, the Huskies stayed in the North mix all season and won a pivotal game against Washington State 28-15 to clinch the division. That meant a Pac-12 title game vs. Utah. That game was a slog. Washington’s only TD came via a pick-six in a 10-3 win.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH
Because it’s Meyer’s last game. Like him or not, Meyer has been one of the greatest college football coaches over the last 25 years thanks to his tireless recruiting and offensive innovation. Washington’s Chris Petersen is a heck of a defensive coach, so it’ll be fun to see what the Huskies can do to stop an Urban Meyer coached team for the final time.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State: This is so very blatantly obvious. But it could also be Haskins’ final time in an Ohio State uniform. The quarterback has reportedly received a first-round grade from the NFL draft advisory committee and is potentially heading to the NFL. If he does, he’ll leave with a ton of single-season passing records for both the Buckeyes and the Big Ten. If Haskins, who finished third in Heisman voting, throws at least three TDs in the Rose Bowl he’ll have 50 (or more) TDs in the 2018 season.
Myles Gaskin, RB, Washington: The senior hasn’t been as productive in 2018 as he was as a junior. Gaskin has played in 11 games and rushed for 1,147 yards and 10 scores. That’s down from his 6.2 yards per carry and 21 touchdowns as a junior. Gaskin figures to feature heavily in Washington’s run game. He’s gotten at least 14 carries in each of his 11 games played and had 20 or more in six of them. With 153 yards, Gaskin will reach 1,300 yards for the fourth-straight season.
WHAT’S ON THE LINE
Ohio State: Aside from a win in Meyer’s final game, the Buckeyes are going for the school’s first Rose Bowl win since the 2009 season.
Washington: You have to go all the way back to the 2000 season (when Rick Neuheisel was coaching) for the last time Washington visited Pasadena on New Year’s Day. UW won that day in a 34-24 decision over Purdue. UW is also just 1-3 in bowl games under Chris Petersen and that lone win was the 2015 Heart of Dallas Bowl. A Rose Bowl win would obviously mean much more for the program.
Nick Bromberg: Ohio State 34, Washington 20
Sam Cooper: Ohio State 31, Washington 23
Pat Forde: Ohio State 31, Washington 21
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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