With a resounding 28-7 victory over Auburn in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, the Bulldogs avenged an earlier season loss to win their 13 SEC football Championship (first since 2005 and trailing only Alabama (26) for most since the league formed in 1933) and earn a spot in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff (“CFP”). This year’s host site for the first semifinal game will be the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, where the #3-seeded Bulldogs will square off with the #2-seeded Oklahoma Sooners on New Year’s Day. #1-seeded Clemson faces off with #4-seeded Alabama in the other semifinal game to be played at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, LA, on New Year’s Day.
The Rose Bowl is nicknamed “The Granddaddy of Them All” because it is the oldest bowl game. It was first played in 1902, and has been played annually since 1916. Since 1945, it has been the highest attended college football bowl game. Only 3 SEC teams (Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee) have ever played in the Rose Bowl.
The Bulldogs are making their 53rd overall and 21st consecutive appearance in a bowl game. Georgia’s bowl record is 30-19-3. Last season, Georgia registered a 31-23 win over TCU in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. This season will be Georgia’s first appearance in the CFP and the Bulldogs join Alabama as the only other SEC team to appear in the CFP so far.
Georgia’s trip to California for the Rose Bowl will mark the first time Georgia has played a bowl game in California since Charley Trippi led the Bulldogs to a 9-0 victory over UCLA in the 1943 Rose Bowl. Furthermore, this year’s Rose Bowl will be the first time Georgia has played a game in California since the Wally Butts coached Bulldogs were defeated 3-10 by the Southern California Trojans in 1960. The 2018 Rose Bowl will be the first ever meeting between Georgia and Oklahoma.
The University of Oklahoma is located in Norman, OK, and has an enrollment of approximately 31,250 students. Oklahoma enters the CFP as the #2-seed with a 12-1 record and Big 12 Championship. Led by first-year head coach Lincoln Riley, the Sooners have won eight in a row and 18 of their last 19 games (only loss coming against Iowa State on Oct. 7 in Norman). OU won its third straight Big 12 title with a 41-17 victory over TCU in the Big 12 title game. This will be the Sooners second-ever Rose Bowl. They defeated Washington State 34-14 in 2003. Oklahoma will be making its 19th straight bowl appearance.
Oklahoma enters the game with one of the most prolific offenses in college football. The Sooners offense leads the nation in yards per game averaging over 580 yards per game and is 4th nationally in scoring averaging almost 45 points per game. The high-powered OU offense is led by senior 3rd year starting quarterback Baker Mayfield. Baker Mayfield threw for 4,340 yards (2nd nationally) and 41 TDs (2nd nationally) on his way to winning the 2017 Heisman trophy. This game will be the first time Georgia has played a Heisman trophy winner in a bowl game since Georgia lost to a Tony Dorsett led Pittsburgh Panther team in the 1977 Sugar Bowl.
Currently, Vegas has the Bulldogs as a 2.5 point favorite with a total of 61 for the game. Kickoff time is scheduled for 5:10 PM EST from Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena CA. The game can be seen ESPN.