Nov 2, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; General view of plaque commemorating the 100th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2014. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rose Bowl Shaping Up To Be a Potential Instant Classic

Nov 2, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; General view of the Rose Bowl exterior before the NCAA football game between the Colorado Buffaloes and the UCLA Bruins. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports




#5 Stanford Cardinal (11-2, 7-2 in the Pac-12 Conference)


#4 Michigan State Spartans (12-1, 8-0 in the Big-10 Conference)

DATE & TIME:  Wednesday, January 1, 2014, 2:10 p.m. PT




Stanford defeated then-#11 Arizona State in the Pac-12 Championship Game, 38-14

Michigan State defeated then-#2 Ohio State in the Big-10 Championship Game, 34-24

LINE:  Stanford by 3


Being that they played in the very first Rose Bowl game in Pasadena in 1902, it’s only fitting that Stanford University will be one of the two teams playing in the 100th edition of the “Grandaddy of Them All”.

As they well deserved, beating Arizona State in a convincing fashion to take their second straight Pac-12 crown; the last time that had happened for the Cardinal was in 1970 and 1971, when a guy named Jim Plunkett was quarterbacking for them.

On top of all of that, coach David Shaw’s Cardinal has some unfinished business in L.A. as the last time they were in the SoCal area they suffered a big upset in the Coliseum at the hands of an extremely motivated USC team and were forced to watch the Trojan fans storm the field afterwards.

Stanford didn’t fare too well in that first Rose Bowl game in 1902; not only did they lose to Michigan 49-0, those 49 points were scored in only three quarters as Stanford’s players quit after that, they were getting hammered so badly.

However, there’s no chance whatsoever of that happening again as this Cardinal team is far too good with quarterback Kevin Hogan, running back Tyler Gaffney, and wide receiver/kick returner Ty Montgomery leading the offense while linebacker Shayne Skov is the biggest name on Stanford’s stout defense.

Their smash-mouth style of play will perfectly mirror that of their opponent, the Michigan State Spartans, who not only won the Big-10 title but knocked Ohio State out of the BCS Championship game by doing so.

As a matter of fact, this may be the best team to ever come out of East Lansing, a 17-13 loss to Notre Dame being the green-and-white Spartans’ only blemish on their 12-1 season.

Coached by Mark Dantonio, this is Michigan State’s first appearance in the Rose Bowl in 26 years, the last time being on January 1, 1988 when they beat USC 20-17.

Much like their Palo Alto counterparts, although quarterback Connor Cook has 20 touchdown passes with a long of 87 yards, these Spartans for the most part play a smash-mouth running style with not too many fancy offensive schemes; Jeremy Langford is MSU’s leading rusher with 1,338 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Michigan State’s defense is the eye-opening part of this team, particularly in giving up a mere 12.7 points and 80.8 rushing yards per game.

Defensive linemen Shillque Calhoun (7.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss) and Marcus Rush and linebacker Denicos Allen (15 TFLs) lead a Spartan defense that will definitely challenge Stanford’s punishing run attack.

In fact, considering the way these two defenses mirror each other, don’t be surprised if this turns out to be a low-scoring affair.

In other words, if you’re an old-school football fan who likes a lot of hard hitting and clouds of dust, this Rose Bowl will be perfect for you.

And a very appropriate way to commemorate this 100th time that a football game has been played in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

Which looms to be the perfect ending to the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, which will start that January 1st morning with the iconic Rose Parade up Orange Grove Avenue, making that famous turn at Colorado Blvd for a total of five and a half miles.

If you’re a Michigan State fan in particular (Stanford fans should have some experience in this being that they were at the Rose Bowl last year), I strongly suggest that you book your tickets and hotel rooms early and see the parade as well as the game.

More information on the Rose Bowl and the Tournament of Roses can be found at








Tags: Michigan State Rose Bowl Stanford

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