Rose Bowl 2022: TV Schedule, Odds and Predictions for Utah vs. Ohio StateDecember 12, 2021
Why is Ohio State not headed the College Football Playoff? The answer to that question will haunt them for quite a while.
Two weeks ago, the Buckeyes lost to bitter rivals the Michigan Wolverines for the first time since 2011. That game had huge implications, too, sending Michigan to the CFP and Ohio State to the Rose Bowl.
Now, instead of playing for the national championship, the Buckeyes will travel to Pasadena, California, to face Utah on New Year's Day.
The Utes finished the season ranked No. 11 in the CFP rankings and won the Pac-12 championship for the first time since it joined the conference back in 2011.
This will be Ohio State's 16th time playing in the Rose Bowl, while Utah will be appearing in the prestigious bowl game for the first time in the school's history.
2022 Rose Bowl Information
Date: Saturday, Jan. 1
Site: Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif.
Time: 5 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN
Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook): Ohio State -6.5, O/U: 67
Ohio State is favored to get its ninth win in the Rose Bowl, but that depends on one big factor: whether or not Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson will both play.
The are expected to be first-round picks in the 2022 NFL draft, so everyone would understand if they chose not to play in Pasadena.
If this were the CFP, they might not get that kind of grace, but this game is a consolation prize for the Buckeyes, no matter the tradition of the game.
"I feel like it's the right thing to do, especially leave the seniors out with a win," Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud told Patrick Murphy of 247 Sports. "Definitely a big-time game anyways. So just being a competitor. At this level, if you don't wanna play, I don't know why you're on this team. No one on my team is like that, though, thank God. I don't really question anybody's kind of willingness to play, except for, of course, the guys who are going to the League next year, which I totally understand."
If Olave and Wilson do suit up and play alongside Jaxon Smith-Njigba, they'll be hard to stop. They are three of the main reasons why Ohio State had the No. 1 scoring offense in college football with 45.5 points per game.
Stroud came up short against Michigan and then Bryce Young for the Heisman Trophy this past Saturday, so he'll be extra motivated to play well and put numbers on the board.
Add to that the fact that he's from nearby Rancho Cucamonga, and it's basically a home game for the gun-slinging quarterback.
"Growing up back home in California, being a full-fledged Cali guy, born and raised there. So it's definitely a blessing to be able to play in this game," Stroud told Murphy. "I'm definitely excited. Of course, it's not where we want to be but it's where we're at and I'm super excited for that. I'm gonna try and go out the right way and just have fun back home and just have fun with the game."
The Buckeyes will have their hands full with Utah, though. First-team All-Pac-12 selection Britain Covey and the Utes won six straight games to close out the season and will be out to extend that streak to seven.
Utah beat Oregon twice this year, and the Ducks beat Ohio State 35-28 back in September, so that's something to consider when sizing up the matchup between these two teams.
"For us, it's a great opportunity for our program. It's the next step in the evolution of our program, getting to the Rose Bowl. Most years, that's what the Pac-12 champion gets to experience," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham told Jeff Call of Deseret News. "It was the next step and the next goal for our program. It's something we've been shooting for and had our sights on for a number of years. We've finally been able to get over that mountain and we're very excited to have that opportunity."
The Utes will rely on running back Tavion Thomas and their top-25 defense to thwart the Buckeyes, but if look for the latter to emerge with the win and bragging rights if it has all its stars available.
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Utah 31