The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics on Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today about the Rose Bowl? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.
LOS ANGELES — The better team is also the most motivated one.
There probably isn’t much reason to overthink this pick as Ohio State heads into the Rose Bowl against Washington with the better quarterback, a legendary coach set to retire and seemingly way more incentive to close the season with a win.
Upsets can happen, sure. But even with a relatively small spread compared to many the Buckeyes have faced this season, a loss in Pasadena would qualify as a shocker considering how much emphasis the program has placed on this matchup after missing out on the College Football Playoff.
Dwayne Haskins wants to put on a show and bolster his NFL Draft stock in what is likely his final game with Ohio State. A bunch of Buckeyes who haven’t hidden their disgust with watching the blowouts in the semifinals that didn’t include them clearly want to prove they belonged. Think the Rose Bowl doesn’t matter? Guys who could protect their futures and sit out like Dre’Mont Jones or Mike Weber are choosing to play instead, embracing the opportunity to give Urban Meyer one more victory.
Ohio State may have needed some time to reach its top gear this season, but it clearly had it figured out by the end of the year when it was dismantling Michigan and knocking off Northwestern to win the Big Ten. The defense may still be a bit of a concern for the Buckeyes, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with one of the most explosive offenses in the country — and Washington isn’t really suited for a shootout after finishing two of its last five games with just 10 points.
“This has been a bucket-list item since I started coaching,” Meyer said. “But the best part of doing a bowl experience is to do your very best to go win and winning it. We’ve been working hard on that, realizing who we’re playing, how good they are.
“I don’t want to devalue the experience, but we’re here to win a football game.”
The Buckeyes are going to do it. And the Rose Bowl will be a proper sendoff for one of the most successful coaches in college football history.
The Rose Bowl pick: Ohio State 38, Washington 21.
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