Rose Bowl Predictions
DAVID SCHWARTZ: Don’t put too much stake in Stanford’s loss to Northwestern. Season openers don’t mean much. A better gauge of the Cardinal is their Pac-12 schedule. They scored a lot of points against those lousy defenses, but they got scored on a lot, too. Iowa matches up well against Stanford, both offensively and defensively. Christian McCaffery will fill up the box score, but Stanford won’t fill up the scoreboard. And CJ Beathard hasn’t been hit in nearly a month.
PREDICTION: Iowa 45, Stanford 24
MITCH SMITH: Fifty-seven years have passed since Hawkeye fans celebrated a victory while basking in the glow of the Pasadena sunshine.
That’s 20,819 days.
Iowa fans have waited long enough for this moment. Enjoy every minute, because Jan. 1, 2016 will be a day remembered by Hawkeye fans for years to come. CJ Beathard, Jordan Canzeri and Iowa’s slew of pass-catching threats will pick apart a Stanford defense that has allowed 24 points or more six times this season. Canzeri will rush for a touchdown and eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season. George Kittle and Henry Krieger-Coble will continue to catch passes in crucial moments. Beathard will put forth a performance that will cement him as the preseason front runner for Big Ten Player of the Year in 2016.
For those worried about Cardinal running back Christian McCaffery: Never fear. He hasn’t faced a defense as tough as Iowa since the season opener against Northwestern — a team that held the Heisman Trophy runner-up to a measly 66 rushing yards. “The Outlaw” Josey Jewell will have an MVP performance, and Iowa’s rock solid defensive line will keep McCaffery and Stanford QB Kevin Hogan at bay. The Hawkeyes snap their 3-game losing streak in the Rose Bowl. Let’s party like it’s 1959!
PREDICTION: Iowa 37, Stanford 28
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SEAN NEUGENT: This marks the third Rose Bowl for Stanford in the past four years. While they hold the advantage of playing in this game twice before and inside the Rose Bowl Stadium, so too did Michigan State at the Big Ten Championship and Iowa never appeared to look like the moment was too big for them. Stanford has struggled offensively against Big Ten teams of late, including when they beat Wisconsin in the 2012 Rose Bowl, winning 20-14 before losing the following year in the Rose Bowl to MSU 24-20, and were also shut down by Northwestern the first game of the season with six points (the 45 they put up against Maryland in last year’s Foster Farm Bowl doesn’t apply here).The Cardinal have been in this bowl game 15 times in their history and have never scored more than 27 points in it. Although they have averaged 37.2 this year, they have not faced a defense quite like the Hawkeyes. On the other side of the ball, Stanford has struggled defensively. They are certainly no push over and play a bend, but don’t break defense, but in their last four games they allowed 170 yards rushing to USC (357 total yards), 299 rushing yards vs. Notre Dame (533 total yards), 231 rushing yards to Oregon (436 total yards), and 495 total yards to California. They are giving up yards through the air and on the ground. After facing a relentless MSU defense to finish the season, they should find breathing room against Stanford. Look for Iowa to grind it out and rush for 200 yards on the day as QB C.J. Beathard throws for 220 yards and two touchdowns on the day, while adding 30 yards and a TD on the ground. The Hawkeyes zone in on RB Christian McCaffrey and limit him, but QB Kevin Hogan does everything he can do to keep Stanford in it, throwing for 250-plus and two touchdowns. The Hawkeyes and their fans know they belong on this stage, but they are about to finally prove it to the nation too.
PREDICTION: Iowa 34, Stanford 20
ROSS PETERSON: Iowa will have to make adjustments to stop Christain McCaffery. They can not rely on a Linebacker covering him when he comes out of the backfield. He’s way too fast. Offensively, the running game will rule the day, but I think at the end of the day, this is a game we look back on and realize that CJ made the plays to help the Hawkeyes win. They might have to score 30 to win, but they can against this Stanford defense.
PREDICTION: Iowa 31, Stanford 28
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STEVE DEACE: This is a good matchup for Iowa. Stanford’s rush defense would only be 7th in the Big Ten, and the only team in the top 20 nationally in rushing they faced (Oregon) they lost to. Stanford’s defense gave up almost a touchdown more per game against pro-style offenses. Stanford won four games this year when its opponents scored at least 28 points. That had only happened three times combined the previous three seasons. So the Cardinal is not as strong on defense this year, and Iowa should be able to play some keep away. Plus, Iowa’s funnel-type zone defense should limit the opportunities Christian McCaffrey has to take the swing and outlet passes to the house.
PREDICTION: Iowa 24, Stanford 20
JON MILLER: We’ve been waiting for this game for 25 years. 25 years since Iowa’s last Rose Bowl appearance and the Hawkeyes find themselves playing against Stanford in the Rose Bowl. This isn’t likely to be one of those ‘West Coast Speed’ teams that Iowa has come up against in past trips to California. This is a Stanford team that will want to mash, just like Iowa wants to mash. I believe what Iowa will want to do on offense aligns with what they should do on offense against a Stanford defense that may not hold up at the point of attack. I believe Iowa will be able to corral Christian McCaffery and hold him under 130 yards rushing. As long as Iowa can stay out of its own way on the turnover front, I think close to 50,000 Hawkeye fans will leave the Rose Bowl in a very good mood.
PREDICTION: Iowa 31, Stanford 27
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To read Rob Howe’s breakdown on the game, CLICK HERE