Oklahoma will take on Georgia in the College Football Playoff. According to OddsShark, Oklahoma is favored by 1.5 points over Georgia. Westgate is slightly more bullish on the Sooners, and had Oklahoma opening as a three point favorite. The Bulldogs square off with the Sooners in Pasadena on January 1st at 5 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
Oklahoma has won eight straight games since losing to Iowa State, including a decisive victory over TCU in the Big 12 title game. The Sooners made a statement to start the season with a dominant win in Columbus over Ohio State. Oklahoma also has wins over Texas, Oklahoma State and another win over TCU. The Sooners are 12-1 straight up this season, and 8-5 against the spread. Oklahoma’s games have been split evenly between the over and under.
After suffering a blowout to Auburn earlier in the season, Georgia got the revenge they were looking for with a convincing win in the SEC Championship. Kirby Smart has turned things around in Athens in just two seasons as head coach. Georgia also has wins over Notre Dame, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs are 12-1 this season and went 9-4 against the spread. Eight games have hit the under, while five games have gone over.
This will mark the first ever matchup between Georgia and Oklahoma. The Sooners own a sizable matchup at quarterback with Baker Mayfield leading Oklahoma against Georgia. Mayfield has thrown for 4,340 yards, 41 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also rushed for 310 yards and five touchdowns. The Bulldogs will start freshman Jake Fromm behind center, but do have the advantage of being arguably the top defense Oklahoma has faced this season.
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley told ESPN (via 247 Sports) the team is in for a difficult task in preparing for Georgia.
They [SEC teams] are always a challenge. There are great defenses in that league. Auburn was tremendous last year and I have had a chance to see Georgia a little bit this year. They’re tremendous. They have great athletes all over the field. Kirby and his staff do such a great job defensively with their schemes and the way they attack you. It is going to be a challenge…It will be one of the best defenses that we have played in the three years that we have been here, but it’s a challenge that we are very much looking forward to.
Smart spoke with USA Today about the difference Mayfield makes on the field.
I can’t say specifically [that he’s like anyone], because he’s such a good athlete and he’s got such a thick build, he stretches the defense and extends plays, and he’s not afraid to make any throws. He’s like Brett Favre, except [Mayfield’s] obviously a better athlete. But he’s got that gunslinger mentality … the pageantry and passion that he plays with, that’s really what college football’s all about.