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Sooners excited for Rose Bowl playoff game

There was no massive watch party for Oklahoma heading into Sunday's College Football Playoff announcement.

The Sooners knew they were in after a 41-17 win over TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game. The only question was where and who the opponent would be.

So first-year Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley watched in his office with assistant coach Cale Gundy, athletic director Joe Castiglione and a few OU administrators.

"Seeing us come across there with a chance to go to the Rose Bowl was a great feeling," Riley said after the Sooners were announced in the game, where they'll play Georgia.

It'll be Oklahoma's second appearance in the Rose Bowl. In 2003, the Sooners beat Washington State there, 34-14.

"Probably the one, honestly just personally for me, I was kind of deep down hoping that some year we'd get a chance to play in," Riley said. "That's always been the one that, kind of looking from afar, that I haven't gotten a chance to be a part of yet that I was always hoping to get a chance to be in."

The Sooners have won eight consecutive games since losing to Iowa State in early October and have beaten their last six opponents by double figures, scoring at least 38 points in all but one game during the winning streak.

OU quarterback Baker Mayfield has vaulted himself past Heisman contender status and into the position of being the Heisman frontrunner.

The Sooners' offense has been the nation's best for much of the season.

In Georgia, though, they'll face a defense that is among the nation's best.

The Bulldogs have held 10 of their 13 opponents to 14 points or fewer.

"Obviously they're really, really good defensively," Riley said. "It doesn't take long to figure that out."

While Riley didn't think he'd ever met Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart face to face though the two have spoken on the phone several times Georgia's offensive staff did spend a day in Norman during the spring.

"We just kind of generically shot some ideas," Riley said. "So hopefully I have them some really, really terrible stuff."

Former Sooners coach Bob Stoops, whose retirement in June opened the way for Riley's ascension, visited Georgia earlier this season and spoke to the Bulldogs. Stoops has remained a frequent face around Norman and celebrated on the field with OU after the conference championship win.





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