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Oddsmakers Expect Close Call Between No. 11 Penn State and No. 8 Utah in Rose Bowl

Could we be headed toward a nailbiter in Pasadena?

Michigan State v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The oddsmakers are expecting a nailbiter for Penn State in Pasadena as they face off with Utah to close out the 2023 season. The seemingly evenly-matched Nittany Lions and Utes have opened as an even pick ‘em ahead of the Rose Bowl.

It will be Penn State’s first meeting with Utah in program history.

Utah was a trendy pick for an undefeated season and playoff berth ahead of the season, but those hopes quickly evaporated in a week one defeat to Florida in The Swamp. They bounced back to sweep through their nonconference slate with wins over South Utah and San Diego State, followed by blowout victories over Arizona State and Oregon State to reach 4-1. However, the Utes stumbled again in a 42-32 loss at UCLA.

Utah managed to bounce back the following week by handing USC its first loss of the season in a gritty 43-42 victory at home with the help of a late two-point conversion. Wins against Washington State, Arizona, and Stanford followed before the Utes suffered their third loss of the season in a 20-17 defeat at Oregon.

The Utes were able to bounce back once again, blowing past Colorado 63-21 before stunning USC for a second time. The Utes found themselves down 17-3 to the Trojans before taking control, eventually pulling away for a commanding 47-24 victory that launched them to a PAC 12 Championship and Rose Bowl apperance.

The Rose Bowl will be played Monday, January 2 at 5 p.m., and will be aired on ESPN.