ANAHEIM, CA-The Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual kicked off its annual week of pre-game events in Anaheim, California, rolling out the red carpet for the Oklahoma Sooners and Georgia Bulldogs at Disneyland Resort during its Festival of Holidays celebration.
Tournament of Roses President Lance Tibbet announced “Making a Difference” as this year’s theme during the introduction ceremony, hosted by ESPN SportsNation’s Marcellus Wiley. This theme is symbolic of the spirit of excellence embodied by both football programs as they approach the College Football Playoff semifinal in Pasadena.
Players and coaches flexed their wings riding the Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction, based on Marvel Comics’ infamous film series in Disney California Adventure Park. In the midst of The Happiest Place on Earth, Georgia offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn reflected on who has been a real-life superhero to him. Wynn praised his mom.
“She’s an amazing woman,” Wynn said. “She always helps me through any and everything… She’s definitely my real life superhero.”
On how he’s approaching the big game, Wynn shared the advice his mother passed on to him.
“Stay focused and enjoy my time,” Wynn said. “This is something I will never get back. She always tells me every day, ‘enjoy the day.’ Whether it’d be practice, visiting somewhere, or just going to get some food with the boys… enjoy the moment. But when it comes down to it, she’s definitely telling me to handle business on Monday.”
In reality, these football players are considered superheroes to young athletes watching the Rose Bowl, aspiring to fill their shoes someday. Georgia linebacker and 2018 Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith shares a word of encouragement for those who hope to follow in his footsteps.
“Just keep your head down and keep working,” Smith said. “If someone tells you, you can’t do something, you prove them wrong. You just keep going. Listen to the coaches and do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
From the same trail of determination, Georgia running back Nick Chubb inspires young people with his tireless work ethic and tenacity to bounce back.
“Keep working… Believe in yourself,” Chubb said.
Will the Bulldogs top the record books as the winningest team in Georgia football history? The best is yet to come from this unit as they take on the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners for the first time at “The Granddaddy of Them All” on New Year’s Day.
The 104th Rose Bowl Game will be televised live on ESPN on New Year’s Day.