When Stanford, not Oregon, was named as part of the BCS and was booked for a date with Michigan State I could help but think how a potent offense meets a hardworking defense in the Rose Bowl.
Hmm. I think we have heard about this one before. But with Stanford, the BCS committee got it right. The Cardinal was a huge success this season, despite the two losses in a much improved Pac 12. Michigan State on the other hand, has flown under the radar for most of the season, using its defense and a solid running game to stymie its opponents and prove that you do not have to use a machine gun style of offense to be successful in the Big Ten.
In the end however, it will be the Cardinal red that will prevail. Here are five reasons why.
He may be the most underrated coach in the Pac 12 and college football. All he does is produce winners. Shaw was an assistant for Jim Harbaugh when he coached Andrew Luck and the high scoring teams a few years ago. Now, the top job belongs to him and it would appear the team has not missed a beat.
If you are not familiar with the work of Gaffney, go look at the tape of the bowling ball runner running over Oregon. That was the natonal title hopeful, Oregon. Everyone had a chance to witness how he single-handedly beat the Ducks defense and won the contest. He reminds me of Tommy Vardell and Toby Gerhart with better skills and speed.
There were times when Hogan was a spectator when his team was running through opposing defenses and there were times when Stanford needed his arm to lead them to victory. Hogan can also move in the pocket and move the chains with hi feet. He is a semi dual threat the Michigan State defense must me aware of.
West coast bias
One of the things I dislike about these bowl games is the time that elapses between the end of the season and the bowl games begin. Because the Cardinal is used to playing on the west coast the layoff should not effect them as much. It is a slight edge, but it might be enough.
Strong in the trenches
I think Stanford's offensive and defensive lines are better, overall
The offensive line features senior guard David Yankey, who was named a unanimous first-team All-American. He was a consensus first-team selection last season at tackle. He and his teammates make it easier fro Gaffney to run through defenses and move the chains.