The 2014 Rose Bowl is ready to roll. The Rose Bowl (dubbed "The Granddaddy of Them All") will have a very intriguing match-up in the 2014 edition as it will feature two teams that could be facing each other in the BCS Championship if they had a bit of luck on just one or two plays during the season.
The No. 4 ranked hometown Michigan State Spartans bring the NCAA's best defense to the table when they suit up today vs. No. 5 Stanford in what has the potential to be one of the best Rose Bowls ever.
According to an ESPN Jan. 1 report, Stanford may have the edge when it comes to playing in big games over the past three seasons, but MSU has the weapons to pull off the upset.
This game will be Michigan State's first appearance in any BCS bowl, while Stanford has been to one of college football's marquee BCS games in each of the last three seasons under coach David Shaw.
That may not sound like much of an edge, but add to that scenario that this game will be played only a few hours from Stanford University, so it is almost like a home game for the Cardinals.
Well, something has to give today.
Stanford can run the ball with the best of them as they averaged 234.2 yards on the ground in its last five games and Michigan State plays run defense with fierce power as they rank in the top 5 of all the defensive categories.
So who wins this big game? What's the The X factor?
Unfortunately it may be Max Bullough for the Spartans. Well, the lack of him.
Bullough was suspended last Wednesday for violating team rules and he is the heart and soul of the MSU defense. Coach Dantonio did not say what rules the two-time team captain violated, but Bullough's 76 tackles (9 1/2 for loss) this season, which earned him third-team All-America honors and first-team All-Big Ten honors will be missed today.
One thing to watch out for if MSU pulls off the win - coach Dantonio making a big play. Dantonio is a gambler. He won't hesitate to fake a field goal, punt or go for it on 4th down. Coaching will play a big part of today's game.
I want to be wrong on my selection, but I can't pick with hometown bias when Vegas is involved.
Here are the Rose Bowl facts:
- Who: Michigan State vs Stanford
- What: 2014 Rose Bowl
- When: Jan. 1, 4:30 p.m. EST
- TV: ESPN
- Live Stream: WatchESPN
- Vegas Line: Stanford -6
- Pick: Stanford