Ohio State Football: The Magnitude of the Rose Bowl

After a 10-2 regular season, the Ohio State football team returns to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl. Here’s why it’s a momentous game for the Buckeyes.

The Ohio State football team is set to take on the PAC-12 Champion, Utah Utes, in the 108th Rose Bowl on Saturday. The matchup between the Buckeyes and Utes is intriguing as it should be one of the best games of the postseason.

Before we dive into the game, please put it on your list if you have never been to Pasadena to attend the Rose Bowl in person. The venue is one of the most incredible settings in sports, especially toward the end of the third quarter as the sun begins to set behind the majestic San Gabriel mountains overlooking the stadium.

It’s a scene unlike any other that the Utah faithful will get to experience for the first time tomorrow. The Utes put together a solid finish to the season, defeating Oregon twice in three weeks to win the PAC-12. Kyle Wittingham’s teams rely on physical line play and a downhill rushing attack to win ball games, which has been their exact formula again this season.

There is a sense of anxiety surrounding the game for Ohio State fans, and rightly so. This season, each of the Buckeyes’ losses followed the blueprint the Utes follow with a physical running game to play a ball-control offense.

Despite the opt-outs, Ohio State will be motivated and ready to play and send the seniors out the right way. However, C.J. Stroud feels disrespected following the Heisman ceremony, and no one wants to finish the season with two straight losses. At the same time,  Michigan has a chance to play for the National Championship.

The Rose Bowl is an excellent glimpse into the future for Buckeye Nation as we will get to see young rising stars like Tyliek Williams, Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr, and Julian Fleming showcase their talent. Stroud will still have an arsenal of weapons at his disposal, so I do not think the offense skips a beat.

But as we know, the offense is rarely the problem. The defense will have to step up to limit Utah in the running game and stop the QB run. If the Silver Bullets can do so, it will be a long day for Utah.

There is a lot at stake in Pasadena for the Buckeyes. And no, the Rose Bowl is not a consolation game, contrary to popular belief. It carries all the prestige and honor, especially to a Big Ten program like Ohio State. Expectations in Columbus are CFP or bust as they should be, but there is much to play for in Southern California.

Momentum heading into next season and finishing the season the right way with a victory are atop the list. This game is also equally crucial for Coach Ryan Day who has staffing decisions to make beginning January 2. Day’s teams got out-manned in its two biggest games of the year, and it will not sit well if it happens a third time, even with a victory.

Buckeye Nation expects a physical, explosive, crisp outing, which I believe we get on Saturday afternoon.

Thank you, Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and the rest of the senior class for your contributions and cemented places in Ohio State football lore over the last 3-5 seasons. We are grateful and wish you all the best in the future.