Football

Ultimate College Football Playoff preview

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual</span</p>

Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET | ESPN, ESPN App

These two historic programs meet for the first time in college football’s best setting — the Rose Bowl. The game also features a lot of star power, with Heisman winner Baker Mayfield leading Oklahoma and Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith at the center of Georgia’s D.

FPI PROJECTIONS

47

OKLAHOMA

Odds to win national championship

OKLAHOMA

17.7

SCOUTING OKLAHOMA

Pull the guard, ride the running back on the play fake and sneak FB Dimitri Flowers out of the backfield. With the linebackers taking the bait and playing downhill, Flowers releases up the seam. Mayfield fires a quick-strike throw to him in the open field — catch-and-go, with room to run. — Matt Bowen

How you beat Oklahoma

“Offensively they’re as good as anybody I’ve ever seen. The thing you have to do is make them one-dimensional. You have to stop something. The perfect recipe is to stop the run, try to keep [Mayfield] in the pocket and make him beat you from there. But then good luck with that. Nobody has been able to do it.” — Anonymous Big 12 coach

SCOUTING GEORGIA

Three tight ends lining up, plus Chubb in the backfield, screams power football — and the D is already playing aggressively for the run from the jump. But off the fake crack toss, TE Isaac Nauta releases downfield, offering a layup toss for QB Jake Fromm. And no one is home to stop it. — Matt Bowen

How you beat Georgia

“There’s no question you have to load up to stop the run. Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and D’Andre Swift are dynamic. There’s no doubt you have to take away the run and find ways affect the quarterback.” — Anonymous SEC coach

HOW THEY STACK UP

By the efficiency numbers, this is a match of two elite, and opposite, units in Oklahoma’s offense and Georgia’s defense.

OKLAHOMA GEORGIA

Overall

86.8

Overall

92.4

Offense

96.9

Defense

88.7

Defense

53.2

Offense

86.4

Special Teams

38

Special Teams

54

The Sooners’ offense is the highest-rated unit in the playoff. It is simply elite, with the best quarterback running things. Oklahoma’s offensive line giving Mayfield time against an athletic front seven and balancing with the power running game will be the Sooners’ best chance.

MATCHUPS THAT MATTER

OU: Baker Mayfield, QB vs UGA: Lorenzo Carter, LB

Total
QBR

93.1

Completion percentage
vs. pressure

53

25

Total
QB pressure

12.8

Average
PPG allowed

Mayfield leads the FBS in Total QBR (93.1), completion percentage (71 percent) and yards per attempt (11.8) this season, and pressure hasn’t been a problem. He completes 53 percent of his throws under duress with 8 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and 8.6 yards per attempt (Power 5 average is 5.6). Georgia counters with Carter, the Bulldogs’ leader in QB pressures. In four games against ranked teams this season, the Georgia defense held opposing quarrterbacks to an SEC-best 14.1 Total QBR, fifth best among 106 FBS teams to face a ranked opponent in 2017.

RECRUITING ON ROSTER

Georgia has the most five-stars of any team in the playoff and capitalizes on a prime location. Oklahoma had its best class in a decade last year, headlined by WR Marquise Brown and RB Trey Sermon.

OKLAHOMA

OKLAHOMA

Five-star1
Four-star39
Three-star33

14.75

GEORGIA

GEORGIA

Five-star7
Four-star52
Three-star21

6.75

PREDICTED FINAL SCORE

2 Oklahoma

31

3 Georgia

29

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