Who will WIN this matchup?
#9 Washington Huskies (10-3)
#6 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1)
Washington Huskies: (+220)
Ohio State Buckeyes: (-260)
• The line for this game is Ohio State by 6.5 points.
• Urban Meyer gets to stalk the sidelines at the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day in his final game as coach for fifth-ranked Ohio State, which faces No. 9 Washington in the 105th edition of the game in Pasadena, Calif. Meyer announced he is stepping down as coach after the contest, primarily because of stress-related headaches stemming from a cyst on his brain. Offensive coordinator Ryan Day will be the replacement for Meyer, who has an 82-9 record and won the 2014 national title during seven seasons at the school.
• The matchup between the Buckeyes and Huskies marks the first time the Big Ten champion (Ohio State) and Pac-12 champ (Washington) have met in the Rose Bowl since the College Football Playoff began in 2014. Both schools are making their 15th Rose Bowl appearances but have never previously met in Pasadena. “We ended up right where we hoped to be, facing an awesome team in a big-time game that has so much history with this school and this program,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said during a press conference. “We couldn’t be more excited about going down there. It couldn’t be more awesome for our fans and where we recruit and those types of things.”
• Ohio State wins games with a flashy offense behind sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. while the Huskies are happy to lean on a strong defense led by senior linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Haskins, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting, set school records of 4,580 yards and 47 touchdown passes as the Buckeyes scored 40 or more points on eight occasions while averaging 43.5 points per game. Burr-Kirven has racked up 165 tackles and forced four fumbles for a defense that allowed 15 or fewer points seven times while allowing 15.5 points per game.
• Senior quarterback Jake Browning is the school’s all-time leader in career passing yardage (11,983) and touchdown passes (94) but he battled consistency issues while passing for 2,879 yards and 16 touchdowns against 10 interceptions this season. Senior running back Myles Gaskin is the program’s all-time leader with 5,202 rushing yards and his 1,147 yards this season marked his fourth straight 1,000-yard campaign. Burr-Kirven, an All-American, gets help on the defensive side from sophomore cornerback Byron Murphy (four interceptions) and junior safety Taylor Rupp (two interceptions, five sacks).
• Haskins completed 70.2 percent of his passes in his first season as a starter and his top target, wideout Parris Campbell (79 catches, 11 touchdowns), is eight receiving yards away from a 1,000-yard campaign. Sophomore back J.K. Dobbins (1,029 yards, nine touchdowns) and junior Mike Weber (858 yards, five scores) split the ball-carrying duties with Weber already announcing he is leaving in favor of the NFL after the Rose Bowl. Sophomore defensive end Chase Young (9.5 sacks) and junior defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones (8.5 sacks) have enjoyed strong seasons but the leaky defense has allowed 200 points over the past six games, with one of the shaky outings being a 49-20 loss to Purdue that eventually caused Ohio State to be bypassed by the College Football Playoff committee.