It’s the final game of the year.
There is no backing out now.
The time has come to lay it all on the line and make our Rose Bowl predictions.
Picking bowl games is usually about figuring out which team actually wants to be there, but in this case, that appears to be both teams — and ties no longer exist, so we must choose a winner.
The Buckeyes come into this game favored by 6.5 points and have never lost to a team from the Pacific Northwest in a year that ends in nine (3-0). That’s a pretty strong tell, if you ask me.
Also, Ohio State has won their last eight games against schools that begin with a ‘W’.
There is a ton of data like this that points a strong, straight finger towards a Buckeye win, but crazier things have happened.
If you don’t want to know how this game is going to go, don’t read beyond this line.
You have been warned.
Washington’s offense suits Ohio State’s defense about as well as any offense can. That doesn’t mean the Buckeye defense is going to be flawless, but they’ve had enough time to become less flawful.
The Huskies are averaging around 26 points per game, which is pretty darn pitiful. Defensively, however, the Husky defense has the No. 4 scoring defense in the nation, allowing just 15.5 points per game.
The Huskies have allowed just nine touchdown passes this season. I expect Dwayne Haskins to grow that number by at least three.
Walking into the first press conference with the Huskies, I walked out thinking about how small they looked compared to Ohio State. That’s not the best way to beat an opponent who is playing for more than just themselves.
I have a hard time believing Ohio State will lose Urban Meyer’s last game.
It may not be easy for the Buckeye offense, but I think the speed and physicality of the receivers will pretty new for the Washington defense.
Ohio State 34, Washington 20
I’m expecting Ohio State to come away a big win. It won’t be easy, but I think if the best Ohio State team shows up, they can do it.
Washington is a very good team. Defensively, they have good numbers and a lot of talent on that side of the ball. They’re not used to giving up a lot of points, but I don’t think they’ve faced an offense like Ohio State’s. And I don’t think Washington’s offense will be enough to match Ohio State.
The Scarlet and Gray have the more talented receivers and quarterback. And I think Dwayne Haskins and his crew will be too much for the Huskies to contain.
The Buckeyes have a lot to play for in this game. They are passionate about getting this last win for Coach Meyer, but there are also plenty of players who will want to go out and play well because it’s their own final game too.
Ohio State 42 Washington 17
Washington has a good defense in a much more legit way than Michigan had a good defense.
The Huskies have faced some proficient offenses this season and performed well against them, especially against the hated rival Cougars in the Apple Cup on the road.
The three losses suffered by Washington this season were by a combined 10 points and this is a team that hangs around and finds a way to win. They have an outstanding running back and a good quarterback that makes one or two inexplicable plays per game.
Ohio State must take advantage of those moments to send Urban out on top.
Ohio State 35, Washington 28
Ohio State’s roster is loaded in a way Washington’s simply isn’t. The Buckeyes’ last four recruiting classes have been ranked 7th, 4th, 2nd, and 2nd in the nation. Washington’s have been 26th, 29th, 22nd, and 16th.
That doesn’t guarantee anything – just ask Iowa and Purdue – but it’s a decent measure of the overall talent on both teams. It’s also an indication that if the Buckeyes are engaged, they should be in a position to win. With this being Urban Meyer’s final game, focus doesn’t seem like it will be an issue.
Schematically, Washington’s offense is the type that Ohio State has fared well against. They aren’t particularly explosive, and do a lot of north-south running.
The Huskies’ defense hasn’t given up more than 24 points in regulation all season, but they also haven’t faced an offense like OSU’s. Washington’s one weakness on defense is that they don’t get a lot of sacks. If Dwayne Haskins has time to throw, he should be able to put up points.
Having to replace one – and maybe two – starting offensive linemen is a little concerning, but the Buckeyes should be able to ride their talent advantage to a comfortable win.
Ohio State 31, Washington 17
The Washington Huskies are a very good team. Their defense is one of the best in the country and they have playmakers on offense that can wear down their opposition. They lost three games this year, but managed to win the PAC 12 and plant themselves in the top ten teams in college football.
The Ohio State Buckeyes, however, are a better football team. OSU has thrived offensively this year, no matter the opponent. Though the Husky defense is formidable, they won’t be able to stop Dwayne Haskins and the passing game. On top of that, Washington does not possess a flashy or overly impressive offense. They rely on the run, which OSU can, and will, slow down.
The Buckeyes win the Rose Bowl and cap off an outstanding season and another top five finish.
Ohio State 41, Washington 27
A month ago, the Rose Bowl matchup with Washington was very “blah”. It was a letdown knowing Ohio State would be in Pasadena instead of the CFP. Who would have thought a Rose Bowl would ever be a disappointment?
After some time to marinate, however, there is some excitement about The Granddaddy of Them All.
Washington’s offense has a pair of senior leaders in Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin, who can be counted on to take control of this game. UW will do everything they can slow down the game and control the clock. Browning is just as talented as you remember, but he doesn’t have the talent around him to be all-world anymore. If Ohio State can slow Gaskin and the running attack, Browning could win a game, but his receivers can’t.
If Washington’s offense is slow and steady, the defense is the strength. MLB Ben Burr-Kirven is a legit MIKE. He makes plays all over the field and has the stat sheet to back it up. And UW’s defensive backfield has had an impact on every game they’ve played. But don’t let the stat sheets fool you. This is the best offense UW has seen this year. Expect Haskins and Co. to light this D up.
I don’t know what the line is for the game right now, but Ohio State will play off the emotions of clearly being overlooked for the playoffs, the last game for so many of our beloved players, and Urban’s first and last Rose Bowl. Expect a BIG game from the Buckeyes.
Ohio State 48 Washington 20
While I understand the emotional factor weighing heavily in Ohio State’s favor, something about this game has me believing it will be much closer than people realize. I have seen people online saying Ohio State is going to blow Washington out, and perhaps those people are correct, but I have a feeling that this game is going to be close well into the 4th quarter.
It kind of has a pesky Northwestern type vibe to it for me.
Looking at Washington’s 2018 opponents, the Huskies usually kept the scores low, with the 30-27 overtime loss at Oregon on October 13th the only time an opponent scored more than 24 points in a game. The Washington defense is going to pose a lot of challenges for Ohio State to overcome. I see this game resembling the B1G Championship Game win over Northwestern, with Ohio State eventually pulling away in the 4th quarter.
Still, expect a lot of anxious moments before the Buckeyes send Urban Meyer out on a winning note from Pasadena.
Ohio State 42, Washington 28
From Dwayne Haskins to Dre’Mont Jones to the Zone 6 crew and all the way back to Urban Meyer, this could/will be the end to so many Ohio State football careers.
They’ve sat for days angry at the committee for leaving them out of the playoffs. They watched Notre Dame and Oklahoma play like crap. This is their time to make a statement.
The Buckeye offense will be taking on a pretty good Washington defense. I know we all think about the Pac 12 being all offense and no defense but this year was different. The offenses in the Pac 12 were downright dreadful. Sure, Washington has a statistically great defense but the only time they faced an offense even close to Ohio State was Washington State. That game was played in a snow storm. Tomorrow’s game will not. [Editor’s note: I sure as heck hope not.]
Ohio State 42, Washington 17