College Football Playoff: Sooners vs. Dawgs by the numbers

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 25: Quarterback Baker Mayfield
NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 25: Quarterback Baker Mayfield /

We’re under 24 hours now before the kickoff of a brand new year as well as the long-awaited College Football Playoff featuring the four best teams in college football for the 2017 season.

It’s time to stop all the talking, speculation and game predictions and the what-ifs and what-nots and get on with the games.

Baker Mayfield’s health obviously is a big concern in No. 2 Oklahoma’s Rose Bowl showdown with No. 3 Georgia, but it is what it is and it’s time now to go play the game.

It’s hard to say who is the favorite and who is the underdog between OU and Georgia. Either way, a one- or two-point spread doesn’t seem all that comfortable an advantage.

What we have is an incomparable offensive juggernaut in Oklahoma, which is used to putting up big numbers, and an immovable defensive force on the other side that takes enormous pride in preventing opponents from doing just that.

The only number that counts, however, is the number on the Rose Bowl scoreboard when the final whistle blows. On the subject of numbers, here are some bold number predications for the Rose Bowl Playoff game between the champions of the Big 12 and the SEC champs:

  • Mayfield will play and perform better than many people expect given the circumstances. Look for the 2017 Heisman winner and Sooner team leader throw for 250-plus yards and two touchdowns against Georgia. Dimitri Flowers will be on the receiving end of one of the TD passes and Mark Andrews will be targeted on the other.
  • Don’t expect Mayfield to have to carry the load on his own. The overlooked Oklahoma offensive line will open up running lanes for Rodney Anderson and Trey Sermon who will combine for over 150 yards on the ground and another 50 yards receiving.
  • Marquise “Hollywood” Brown will haul in a couple of big-gainers, using his speed to demonize the Georgia secondary, rated as the No. 2 pass defense in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision).
  • This game won’t be all about offense, though. The respective defensive units will have a definite say in the outcome, and for the Sooners D.J. Ward, Du Vonta Lampkin and Emmanuel Beal will have big games among the front seven and Tre Norwood and Steven Parker on the back end. You’ll hear the names of these guys often and associated with some big defensive plays.
  • Prediction: Oklahoma 34, Georgia 30

Here are some other notable numbers to keep in mind in viewing or listening to this game:

4-0 – Oklahoma’s record this season against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 (Ohio State, Oklahoma State, and TCU twice).

8.44 – Yards per play averaged by the Oklahoma offense this season, almost a full yard better than any team in the country.

13.2 – Average points given up to opponents by Georgia in the 2017 season.

44.9 – Average points scored per game by the Sooners this season.

96.9 – Oklahoma’s offensive efficiency rating for 2017, according to ESPN’s Info and Stats department, almost nine point higher than the next closest teams, Alabama and Oklahoma State.

108 – Plays of 20-plus yards by the Sooner offense this season, 81 of which were passing plays.

190 – First downs allowed by the Georgia defense this season. Only nine other teams in the FBS have given up fewer first downs.

263.5 – Average rushing yards per game in the 2017 season by the Georgia offense.