By Craig Fields
#6 Stanford Cardinal vs. #5 Iowa Hawkeyes
Friday – January 1 – 4:00 pm CT
Rose Bowl – Pasadena, California
Records Before the Game
Stanford Cardinal (11-2, 8-1 Pac-12)
Iowa Hawkeyes (12-1, 8-0 Big 10)
Of all of the games this bowl season, this one may be the most intriguing. Two very talented teams, with very good cases to be in the semi-final games against the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide, will be taking the stage in the grandaddy of all bowl games.
Stanford will be looking to run the ball behind the legs of Christian McCaffrey. The 6-1 sophomore gained 1,847 yards on the ground, 540 receiving yards, and 12 total touchdowns. He was one of the most dynamic and prolific college football players this season, a Heisman candidate, and the cornerstone and backbone for a national championship caliber Stanford team.
In addition to watching one of the best players in college football, on the offensive side of the ball, the fans can expect an exceptional defense when Iowa steps onto the field. The Hawkeyes have one of the most physical offenses and only give up about 111 rush yards per game.
The Cardinal look to control the clock and as a team rushed for about 3,000 yards. Fans can expect a very physical game, and as a result there may not be much scoring in this one. The Cardinal have a very capable quarterback, but Keith Hogan is his most effective when the play-action is working.
If Hogan becomes their number one option, I am not saying that they will lose, but it will be harder for them to score and control the clock on offense. The Hawkeyes specialize in making opponents one dimensional, often making them more predictable in the process.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Hawkeyes also have many weapons. Quarterback C.J. Beathard is many things. A leader, a game manager, a great decision maker and a guy who can make all of the throws are just some of the things the junior can be called. However, the most important adjective to describe Beathard may be efficient.
He completed 62 percent of his passes for almost 2,600 yards, 15 touchdowns, and only four interceptions. He also knows how to spread the ball around. However, passing the ball is not the main way the Hawkeyes like to move the ball.
Running backs Jordan Canzeri and LeShun Daniels Jr. combined for almost 1,600 yards on the ground and 20 rushing touchdowns. These two serve as a change of pace to each other and tends to throw defenses off. But, because of the overall physicality and ability of Stanford on both sides of the ball, it is hard to see them losing this one.
Prediction: Stanford 20 – Iowa 10