MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – We are just a few days away from the biggest game in 35 years for the Georgia Bulldogs.
As a graduate of the University of Georgia and, admittedly, as a huge fan of this football program, I cannot believe that on Saturday afternoon I will board a plane for Southern California. After driving around Hollywood and Beverly Hills on Sunday to see if I can get discovered, I will then watch the Rose Parade Monday morning and go to the Rose Bowl. I still cannot believe it. The Rose Bowl – the granddaddy of them all.
If you’re a college football fan, you always watch the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. It’s a tradition to watch it, even for just a few minutes. And this year, Georgia is in it. It’s still hard to fathom that this football team is 60 minutes away from playing for a national championship. Of course, they have to beat a great Oklahoma team. And while most of us believe it’s going to be hard for Oklahoma to keep up with Georgia’s speed on defense, we must remember the Sooners have the Heisman Trophy winner on their team.
Baker Mayfield is really, really good, and he’s going to put up numbers on Monday. But can Roquan Smith and company fly around the field and disrupt Mayfield and make him make mistakes? They also have to stop a very good running game. This isn’t just a team that throws the football. Everyone talks about Georgia’s main three running backs, but the three top rushers for Oklahoma had 2-thousand-212 yards this season. So, don’t forget about that.
Georgia has stopped the run all season, so if they can make the Sooners one-dimensional, that’ll force Mayfield to have a great game – and he is capable. But are the Sooners capable of stopping Georgia’s running game? Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and D’Andre Swift combined for 2-thousand-720 rushing yards this season. Oklahoma must stop those three from doing significant damage. The strategy seems simple for Georgia – run the ball effectively and eat the clock, which will keep the ball out of Mayfield’s hands. Just keep the Heisman Trophy winner off the field, and then he can’t hurt you.
But don’t count out offensive coordinator Jim Cheney using quarterback Jake Fromm to pass the ball a bit – to maybe give Oklahoma a dose of its own medicine. Loosen up that Oklahoma defense early – back them up – by completing some passes to some of Georgia’s talented receivers. Trust in Jake Fromm to come up big for this team. He’s done it all season, so there’s no reason to think he can’t do it on Monday.
Again, this is the biggest game for Georgia since January the first in 1983 – when they played for the national championship and lost to Penn State in New Orleans. Thousands of Georgia fans are going to invade Pasadena to cheer on the Red and Black. I’ll take Georgia – are you surprised? I’ll say Georgia 44 Oklahoma 31. Hopefully, the many Georgia fans in middle Georgia will have a great New Year’s Day watching the Bulldogs win in the granddaddy of them all on Monday.