Ohio State Seems To Be Treating The Rose Bowl As A Consolation Prize

Dec 28, 2021, 12:35 PM | Updated: 12:35 pm
Rose Bowl Game logo...
The " Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One" midfield logo prior to the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal Game at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at AT&T Stadium on January 01, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Rose Bowl week is here and the University of Utah football team is in Pasadena as is Ohio State to be ready for the “Granddaddy of them all.”

The Utes seem excited to be going to the Rose Bowl for the first time in program history.

As for the Buckeyes, they are coming off a loss against rival Michigan in a game that was not all that close and that defeat knocked Ohio State out of playoff contention – a place they are accustomed to being in.

Ohio State has been to the playoff four times out of eight and that is their expectation each year, so going to the Rose Bowl does not seem to excite this team as much which is the complete opposite for Utah.

Prior to their loss to Michigan, the Buckeyes had a path to the postseason with that win and a conference title game against an Iowa team they probably would have defeated. The bowl season has changed since the playoff expanded to four teams with players opting out and teams not being extremely excited for a non-playoff game, even if the other game is a New Year’s Six contest.

The end result for the Buckeyes is to be in the Rose Bowl and to some, the team feels this is a backup prize. That is what Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch told Unrivaled when he recently joined our show.

“What matters is the [College Football] Playoffs, and if you’re not in the playoffs, then everything else is kind of an afterthought,” Rabinowitz said. “Well, but if you’re not going to be in the playoff, only four teams are in it, so there are a lot of consolation prizes.

“If you have to have one of the consolation prizes, this is the best one to have if you’re an Ohio State fan or a Big Ten fan, because there is something still special about just saying you’re going to Pasadena, you’re going to plan that Rose Bowl. There’s so much history, so much tradition with that.”

That comment could not be more true as multiple Ohio State players have decided to opt-out with WR Garrett Wilson, DT Haskell Garrett, WR Chris Olave, and OT Nicholas Petit-Frere.

Those players are protecting themselves as they are going to enter the NFL Draft, but it still has to sting a bit that fans of these teams won’t see these star players on the field. 

The spin on this is for the future of Ohio State football with backups seeing the field in a big spot and against a high-quality Utah football team.

There are ways to make opt-outs happen less likely and that won’t be the case until there is a 12-team playoff and more teams are in the running for a national title. Once that happens, these opt-outs are going to be rarer in a playoff matchup.

Utah Going All-In

For Utah, it seems likely that no one will opt-out since it is the first time going to the Rose Bowl and the stadium will be overwhelmingly filled with Ute fans cheering on their team.

There are many Utah players who have said they are going pro like offensive lineman Nick Ford, receiver Britain Covey, linebacker Devin Lloyd, tight end Cole Fotheringham, running back TJ Pledger, linebacker Nephi Sewell, and defensive end Mika Tafua.

However, all of them will be going and ready to take on Ohio State. There is a difference with the Utes going to their first-ever Rose Bowl compared to Ohio State where it seems that even one of the most recognized bowl games is not up to their standards since a national championship is not on the table.

With Ohio State losing those key players it will give Utah a better chance to win as they were about a touchdown underdog with a full-strength Buckeyes team and now it is Ohio State favored at 4.5 and that will probably get even lower throughout the week.

Utah fans – plus the team – likely won’t care who lines up on the other side of the ball once the game kicks off for Ohio State. The Utes will be in the Rose Bowl for the first time and will want to get the victory.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-7 p .m. on 1280 The Zone and 97.5 FM or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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