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Penn State vs. Utah picks and best bets for Rose Bowl

The Grandaddy gets a good one, with Utah back for the second year in a row.

NCAA Football: PAC-12 Football Championship-Southern California at Utah Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions and No. 8 Utah Utes will meet up in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on Monday, January 2. The game kicks off at its traditional time of 5:00 p.m. ET, and will air on ESPN.

Penn State (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) quietly posted a successful 10-win season but once again couldn’t clear the Ohio State and Michigan hurdles in the Big Ten East. The Nittany Lions were once again led by quarterback Sean Clifford while running back Nicholas Singleton finished the season with just under 1,000 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Defensively, the unit dominated down the stretch, yielding just 40 points in their final four games combined.

Utah (10-3, 7-2 Pac-12) successfully defended its Pac-12 title this season, throttling USC in the league title game to earn this opportunity. Quarterback Cameron Rising once again stepped up for the Utes offense and he had the likes of running back Tavion Thomas and tight end Dalton Kincaid to lean on offensively. The Utes are looking to come out victorious in the Rose Bowl this time around, falling to Ohio State in a wild shootout a year ago.

Current lines at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Pick ‘em
Total: 53
Moneyline: Utah -110, Penn State -110

Opening line: Utah -2
Opening total: 52.5

Key players that have opted-out, injuries for Rose Bowl

Penn State

CB Jeffrey Davis (transfer portal)
WR Jaden Dottin (injury)
OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu (injury)
RB Keyvone Lee (injury)
DT Rodney McGraw (transfer portal)
CB Joey Porter Jr. (opt-out)
EDGE Davon Townley Jr. (transfer portal)
QB Christian Veilleux (transfer portal)
WR Parker Washington (opt-out)


LB Ethan Calvert (transfer portal)
TE Dalton Kincaid (opt-out)
CB Malone Mataele (transfer portal)
CB Clark Phillips III (opt-out)
RB Tavion Thomas (opt-out)
EDGE Tyler Wegis (transfer portal)


57 degrees, cloudy with a chance of rain, 6 MPH winds SSE

The Pick

Utah ML

Pick against Kyle Whittingham at your own peril. I trust the Utes to get the job in this situation, especially after coming up short in this game last year. Give me the back-to-back Pac-12 Champions to come out victorious here.