The 2017 Rose Bowl will not be a part of the year’s College Football playoff, (the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl hold this distinction) but the event remains one of the premier events of the College Football Bowl season. The Rose Bowl has seen some of the best performances and best bowl games in history.
The Pac-12 and Big 10 represent some of the strongest conferences in the country this season and for this reason the game should once again be a college football classic.
The Big 10 has a number of teams that the odds show are considered contenders not only to win the conference, but also the national championship. Vegas has Michigan and Ohio State in the top four favorites to win it all.
Michigan enters its second year under Coach Harbaugh and is considered by many to be the presumptive favorite of the league heading into the season. However, their lack of talent at quarterback and backloaded conference schedule that features road trips to Michigan State, Iowa, and Ohio State will keep them from reaching a bigger stage.
Ohio State’s team looks noticeably younger than the team the lost only a single game in the 2015-2016 season, but lead by quarterback J.T. Barrett the Buckeyes are still as talented as ever.
The Iowa Hawkeyes were one of the most surprising teams in the country last season, racing to a 12-0 record before dropping its final two games to elite competition. This year’s team once again benefits from a weaker West division in the Big 10 and should roll to the Big 10 championship game with relative ease.
Last year’s champion Michigan State will still be a forced to be reckoned with, making life difficult for the other heavyweights of the conference.
I predict that Ohio State will qualify for the College Football Playoff spot and for this reason, league runner-up Iowa will advance to its second consecutive Rose Bowl, where it looks avenge its 2016 humiliation to Stanford.
The Pac-12 is noticeably deeper than the top heavy Big 10 conference. Stanford will once again be strong behind the strength of stud running back and Heisman hopeful Christian McCaffrey.
The USC Trojans return several players at key positions, including Juju Smith-Schuster, a wide receiver considered by many to be the top at his position in the country. Aside from these two teams, however, there do not appear to be strong contenders to win the conference.
Oregon will once again face a difficult situation at quarterback and despite its wide array of talent will inevitably struggle against more veteran competition.
The state of Washington should be well represented in the conference, as both Washington and Washington State are putting forward strong teams this season, with serious potential to challenge the teams at the top.
UCLA returns quarterback Josh Rosen, a true sophomore who has serious potential to be one of the best at his position.
The rest of the conference is far from slouching, as Utah, Arizona and Arizona State all have strength and experience at multiple positions. In the end, I can’t see any team from this conference weathering the season without sustaining multiple losses and for this reason I believe that the conference will once again be excluded from the College Football Playoff.
Stanford remains the strongest squad in the conference and should be able to ride its experience back to the Rose Bowl. They probably will even have a Heisman winner playing for them. However, it would not surprise me in the least to see another team snag the crown in what is probably the deepest conference in the nation.
So the Rose Bowl prediction is set: A rematch of last year’s Rose Bowl. I look forward to seeing the Hawkeyes avenge their humiliation and prove to the nation that their successes of last season were no fluke.