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PHOTOS: UGA wins the Rose Bowl

Uga X makes his way to Pasadena

UGA the team is already here. Now Uga the dog is on the way.

The University of Georgia’s mascot, the first bulldog to join the Bulldogs at a Rose Bowl, is expected soon.

Our colleague Greg Bluestein, who’s also on his way to join the AJC-WSB reporting team, had a well-placed source who sent this photo.

A tipster sends this photo of Uga en route to the Rose Bowl ... pic.twitter.com/royFNix5QC — Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) December 30, 2017

VIDEO: Watch UGA's adorable 6-year-old super fan in action

On Friday evening, University of Georgia players and coaches rolled up to Lawry’s The Prime Rib, a storied, wood-paneled steakhouse for The Beef Bowl, a dinner the restaurant hosts annually for each Rose Bowl team, not an eating competition as the name might imply.

The event was private and journalists were allowed only to take photos, not interview anyone.

Channel 2 Action News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are your home for everything Rose Bowl. Make sure to follow @WSBTV and @AJCSports for updates on Twitter & LIKE the official WSB-TV Facebook page!

For much more on the Georgia Bulldogs, CLICK HERE to download and listen to Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein & AJC's Jeff Schultz on the ‘We Never Played the Game’ podcast.

Outside, a clutch of UGA fans stood ready to cheer on their guys.

Max Hise, 6, whose mom Tricia is a Georgia alum, was particularly revved up (and happy to answer questions).

They’re here from Cornelia, Georgia. Watch Max's video above!

Oklahoma star Baker Mayfield finally speaks:�'I'm not dying'

The Baker Mayfield drama is over. Maybe. The Oklahoma quarterback will play against Georgia in the Rose Bowl, and the media finally heard it straight from his hoarse mouth.

Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winning Oklahoma quarterback, had missed all his media sessions this week and was going to miss another one on Saturday morning.

It had already been announced that Mayfield was too sick to attend.

Channel 2 Action News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are your home for everything Rose Bowl. Make sure to follow @WSBTV and @AJCSports for updates on Twitter & LIKE the official WSB-TV Facebook page!

For much more on the Georgia Bulldogs, CLICK HERE to download and listen to Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein & AJC's Jeff Schultz on the ‘We Never Played the Game’ podcast.

But after about 15 minutes Mayfield himself strode into the room, having decided on his own to show up.

“I’m not dying. But I don’t feel 100 percent right now,” said Mayfield, who said he’s been dealing with flu-like symptoms.

Mayfield’s voice was very raspy. He said he got sick around Christmas, but has felt better in recent days. He said he’s been drinking coffee with lemon and honey because he was “sick of drinking tea.”

“I’m feeling a bit better,” Mayfield said. “Yesterday I felt great. The best I’ve felt in awhile.”

Mayfield answered simply “no” when asked if it would have any effect on his performance in Monday’s game. That’s the same exact two-letter response that head coach Lincoln Riley gave when asked the same question.

Mayfield has been absent from previous team functions this week, other than practice, including Saturday’s media day, when every player and assistant coach is available. There was a podium reserved for Mayfield, but it was only announced just as Oklahoma’s delegation was entering the room that Mayfield would not attend.

Mayfield said he was watching the event on the television in his hotel room, and when he saw that the first question to Riley was about the sick quarterback, he decided it was time to come answer questions himself.

Baker... pic.twitter.com/HtqMz3Fjmj — Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) December 30, 2017

“Obviously I would have liked to have been here earlier, but I realized that players, teammates, these coaches would have to answer questions on my behalf,” Mayfield said. “They know I’m out there at practice. … I came here for them, so they wouldn’t have to keep answering questions.”

Riley also acknowledged that Mayfield has been limited in practice, though he did not elaborate. Riley only answered “a little bit” when asked if Mayfield has been limited.

“He’s just battling through,” Riley said, adding later: “I don’t think it’ll have any big effect on the game.”

Oklahoma players and assistant coaches had been instructed the past few days not to say much if anything on the status of their star quarterback. Team officials had only confirmed he was sick.

Mayfield was seen at practice on Thursday and Friday, when the Sooners weren’t doing much during the viewing period, so it was hard to ascertain how much he was doing in practice.

It’s basically just been practice and rest at the team hotel for Mayfield, according to Riley, who said they were trying to “keep on top” of it to get the quarterback better.

Riley was asked if any other Oklahoma player had caught a bit of what Mayfield had.

“We’ve got a few guys here and there who have been a little sick. But I don’t know that anybody’s had exactly what he’s had,” Riley said. “I think his deal is a little more isolated.”

UGA alumnus has rarely missed Rose Bowl since 1997

The last and only time Georgia played in the Rose Bowl was during World War II. It was 1943, when the Bulldogs defeated UCLA.

Naturally, Bulldogs’ fans who live in Southern California never thought the day would come again. 

Channel 2’s Chris Jose met and spoke with a Georgia alumnus who has been to almost every Rose Bowl since 1997. 

David Atkinson, who grew up in Decatur, moved to Los Angeles to become an actor, and he is still in the business.

From the parade to the Rose Bowl, he has a lot of memories. 

The 2018 Rose Bowl, however, is the holy grail.

Atkinson has plenty of Rose Bowl memorabilia in his Los Angeles home. 

“I’ve been to just about every game since 1997,” he said. 

Atkinson has footballs, tickets and pins and every patch tells a story.

“USC, Washington State and Washington,” Atkinson said.

The list goes on and on. How does a Georgia boy get hooked up with so much access to the Rose Bowl?

Nancy Atkinson, David’s wife, never thought she would marry a guy from Georgia. She is the former sports information director for “The Granddaddy of Them All.” 

The University of Southern California alumna is now sporting a different shade of red. 

“You gotta,” Atkinson said. “You gotta when you have a husband who’s excited.”

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“I was just about to think I would never meet a girl I could stand,” Atkinson said. 

“Then, I met a California girl, born in Pasadena, worked for the Rose Bowl and she just added to all of the magic.

”Two decades' worth of magic is located on Atkinson’s dining room table. 

Now, Georgia will join the Atkinsons' list of Rose Bowls.

“He’s been waiting for this for a long time,” Nancy Atkinson said. “The possibility is now a reality.”

“We end up with three Southern teams in the playoff. Somebody has got to go to Pasadena,” Atkinson said. 

“Please let it be Georgia. So, it is like a dream come true.”

Georgia will have its own burger at the Rose Bowl

While at the Rose Bowl Stadium, it may be hard to pass up the classic Granddaddy Dog, a stadium tribute to the “Granddaddy of them all,” the Rose Bowl.

But when Oklahoma and Georgia face off Monday the menu will have something more unique than the 1/4-pound hot dog topped with macaroni and cheese, pulled pork, bacon and barbecue sauce.

Channel 2 Action News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are your home for everything Rose Bowl. Make sure to follow @WSBTV and @AJCSports for updates on Twitter & LIKE the official WSB-TV Facebook page!

For much more on the Georgia Bulldogs, CLICK HERE to download and listen to Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein & AJC's Jeff Schultz on the ‘We Never Played the Game’ podcast.

Concession vendor Sodexo has worked up two hamburgers representative of the teams on the field.

The Oklahoma will likely include a half-pound burger patty topped with pulled pork, American cheese and onions. Georgia’s signature burger will have a half-pound beef patty sandwiched between pulled pork, pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes.

Concession representatives told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune fans will be able to track which team is winning in the burger sales with tickers in the concourse.

$100 million expansion coming to Piedmont Park

In his final days as Atlanta mayor, Kasim Reed has announced that Piedmont Park is expanding.

The mayor said on Friday it is one of the largest expansions in the park’s history. 

The area is Piedmont Road and Monroe Drive. The $100 million expansion will impact Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. 

Reed said the project will be a new gateway to the park, fundamentally transforming it. 

“This is not the largest addition to Piedmont Park, yet, but I think It’s going to be the most consequential in the long term,” Reed said.

The mayor gave a special shout out to the city’s chief operating officer, Dan Gordon, for securing the final piece of the funding.   

“When we’re trying to attract the big events and the big companies, they look for things like this, and we’re not interested in being number two. We’re interested in being number one,” Gordon said.

That’s a mantra Reed has always maintained.

Breaking: Mayor @KasimReed announces major expansion of @piedmontpark. pic.twitter.com/h1ME5mIFXg — Aaron Diamant (@AaronDiamantWSB) December 29, 2017

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“We have a moment that we think is just not going to come again because of the escalating property values," Reed said. "If we don’t expand Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Botanical Garden right now, we don’t think we’re going to get another chance."

The announcement comes a week after Invest Atlanta voted to move forward with a high-density hotel/housing/grocery/parking project at 10th and Monroe, on the edge of Piedmont Park.

Reed got emotional when Channel 2’s Aaron Diamant asked him what he’ll take away from his 8-year run.

“I love Atlanta, I mean, I love this city. That’s what I’ll take away. I love the people here. They gave me my dream,” Reed said.

As for what's next, Reed said he plans to do some teaching at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics. He also plans to do some writing about his time in office and hit the speaking circuit.

Highlights of Georgia's Rose Bowl press conference

Members of Georgia’s offense took part in a question-and-answer session with the media ahead of Monday’s Rose Bowl game. 

Oklahoma players on Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm

Oklahoma has been watching a lot of film on Georgia and its quarterback, Jake Fromm. Sooners strong safety Steven Parker, therefore, has seen what those watching UGA all season have.

“He’s a gamer,” Parker said, using that term several times.

No comments from Parker about Fromm only being able to throw slant passes or that Georgia can’t pass. Oklahoma, which faces Georgia in the Rose Bowl on Monday, has learned the lesson that other SEC teams did the hard way.

“He can put the ball where only his receivers can catch it,” Parker said. “He’s probably going to be handing the ball the majority of the time with [their] run game. But he can cut you off with the play-action pass. That’s what Georgia does very well.”

What Georgia still does best is run the ball, as Parker added and Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops emphasized, when asked to break down the offense Oklahoma will face on Monday. But it’s not the only thing it does well.

“The biggest improvement I’ve seen is their offensive line, and they’ve been able to do [it] up front with those guys,” Stoops said. “And then giving those running backs a little bit of space. They don’t need much. Great players, you get them. They do a good job not letting you penetrate too much and giving those guys opportunities.”

Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney

Jim Chaney was in a great mood. He cracked jokes with media members. He pretended to take a dig at a fellow Georgia assistant coach. He regaled the media with the tale of, a few miles from here, arriving at his first coaching job with a Chevy that had no floorboard in it.

What a stark difference from last year.

The word that Chaney, Georgia’s offensive coordinator, kept mentioning at his bowl news conference last year: Disappointing.

The word Chaney kept mentioning at this bowl news conference Thursday: Fun.

“Last year didn’t meet anyone’s expectations,” Chaney said. “It was a difficult year for everybody, particularly me, because I have a lot of pride in what I do, and I hate putting products out that don’t meet the expectations. But nobody does.”

Nick Chubb on his viral video

Georgia and Oklahoma players visited Disneyland’s California Adventure Wednesday where they hoped on the Guardians of the Galaxy ride --  billed as a “free-fall sensation that’ll have you screaming for more.”

Video of Chubb showed him nervously holding to his seat, closing his eyes and looking in terror waiting for the ride to end.

“It was all right, it was embarrassing but it was fun at the same time,” Chubb said.

Sony Michel, Chubb’s best friend, said he didn’t feel bad that the video gone viral.

“He chose to go on that ride and he knew what he was up for,” Michel said.

Behind the scenes at the Rose Bowl

The Tournament of Roses parade precedes the Rose Bowl.

Fans once cheered on ostriches and an elephant v. camel race.

The venue used to print its own currency, and you could get in for 2 bucks once upon a time.

These days the stats are no less fascinating.

Channel 2 Action News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are your home for everything Rose Bowl. Make sure to follow @WSBTV and @AJCSports for updates on Twitter & LIKE the official WSB-TV Facebook page!

For much more on the Georgia Bulldogs, CLICK HERE to download and listen to Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein & AJC's Jeff Schultz on the ‘We Never Played the Game’ podcast.

The field is a rye/Bermuda mix created in November/December especially for the Rose Bowl.

It’s grown elsewhere and shipped to the stadium in 700-foot rolls weighing 75,000 pounds.

Crews use 340 gallons of paint to customize the field, 300 in the end zones for each team name and 40 in center. Representatives from each team oversee the paint colors to ensure accuracy.

Inside, the teams are accorded identical amenities in their respective locker rooms.

If Team A makes a request for a certain item, the Rose Bowl makes it available so long as Team B has the option of receiving it as well.

The present-day Rose Bowl seats about 90,000 people. Its previous iteration, completed in 1922, sat 57,000.

Radio broadcasts started in 1926.  World War II moved the game to the Duke University campus in 1942 for one game only.

The annual Rose Bowl resumed in Pasadena in 1946. The following year saw the first local telecast and  1968 marked the first live satellite beaming of Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game around the world.

The first Super Bowl to be played there was in 1977.

See more interesting trivia here .

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