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The top Rose Bowl storylines
The early signing day (more on that in a moment) and Christmas weekend are all that stand between us and a full-on charge toward the Rose Bowl. But at your family Christmas gathering, the topic of the Rose Bowl and College Football Playoff will come up, so it behooves you to brush up on some talking points. We’ll save the deep dives and analytical look at Georgia vs. Oklahoma for the final buildup next week. Right now we’re going to look at Georgia’s top four Rose Bowl storylines.
The first meeting — The Rose Bowl will be the first meeting between Georgia and Oklahoma football. It’s rare that two programs as storied as these have never squared off in the century-plus history of college football, and it will only get rarer. There aren’t many major programs the Dawgs haven’t faced. The next team up on the Georgia opponent bucket list in my opinion? Southern California.
Baker Mayfield vs. Roquan Smith — This game will be a meeting of offense vs. defense. Heisman vs. Butkus. Baker Mayfield vs. Roquan Smith. The two best players who will be on the field in Pasadena — and two of the best, if not the two best, players in the country — will go head-to-head. This matchup is a perfect example of a classic conundrum: Who wins between the unstoppable force and immovable object?
Lincoln Riley vs. Kirby Smart — Riley and Smart have earned their reputations as the brightest young coaches in college football. In their first and second years, respectively, they’re further ahead of schedule than anyone could’ve expected they’d be at this point. While both will be considered part of the upper echelon of college coaches regardless of the Rose Bowl outcome, only one will have a chance to win a title and join the likes of Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney and Urban Meyer as the best of the best in college football.
The Natrez Patrick situation — Georgia fans have been sweating the status of inside linebacker Natrez Patrick since his arrest following the SEC Championship Game. That was his third arrest, which typically has led to a dismissal under the Georgia athletics policy. Those charges were dropped, leading most to believe Patrick would stay with the team and likely play in the Rose Bowl. But Patrick reportedly failed a drug test that triggered a probation violation stemming from an arrest earlier in the season. But AD Greg McGarity said probation violations don’t constitute a UGA drug policy violation. Basically it’s a big mess, and no one has a clue whether Patrick will play. Smart has continued to say discipline will be handled “internally,” which means we probably won’t know whether Patrick will play until the day of the Rose Bowl, or at least until the Dawgs get to Pasadena.
As mentioned, the focus this week is the new three-day early signing day, which will take begin Wednesday. Smart and the Dawgs are expected to bring in an impressive haul. If you have any questions about what to expect from Georgia on Wednesday, just check right here. Jeff Sentell of DawgNation has gathered all the info you need, including which Georgia commits and targets are expected to ink letters of intent during the early period.
Sentell, Seth Emerson and Chip Towers of DawgNation also are writing profiles of Georgia’s likely signees. Check the DawgNation home page for the latest, but here are the five that have been released so far.
- 5-star RB Zamir White
- 4-star C Warren Ericson
- 4-star G Trey Hill
- 4-star TE John FitzPatrick
- 3-star T Owen Condon
Kirby Smart, Roquan Smith not ready to talk NFL draft
As one of the best players in college football, Smith also a top NFL prospect. And even though there’s plenty of speculation around whether the junior linebacker will jump early to the NFL, Smith and Smart are saying they’re only focused on Oklahoma and the Rose Bowl. From Towers:
“We’ve handled it the same way we’ve always handled it,” Smart said Monday. “We call every kid in that we think has that potential. We talk to them about it. We say this is the process we’re going to follow. We’re going to get information, and gather information, for you. We’re going to receive it from the NFL, and we’re going to give it to you. We’re going to be able to give you advice.
“But that’s not right now. Right now the focus is on Oklahoma, and that’s the concentration and that’s what we’re doing.”
Odds and ends
- Smart gives injury updates on Sony Michel, Malkom Parrish and John Atkins.
- Trenton Thompson missed practice on Monday.
- Linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer will coach Georgia through the playoffs before heading to Knoxville to serve as Tennessee’s defensive coordinator.
- Jacob Eason’s high school coach discusses the possibility the quarterback transfers after the season.
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) December 19, 2017
Serious pop from UGA OL 74 Ben Cleveland. pic.twitter.com/vjbyn9mXjI
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) December 18, 2017
Georgia fans — get to know 5-star QB commit Justin Fields before early signing day! He's got a bright future with the Bulldogs. pic.twitter.com/acHp6eYpRj
— DawgNation (@DawgNation) December 18, 2017
— DawgNation (@DawgNation) December 18, 2017
Snow has caused dog.exe to encounter a malfunction. pic.twitter.com/mGgfgkwhSl
— Clint Falin (@ClintFalin) December 16, 2017
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