Rose Bowl: Preview, Predictions, TV info

What: Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO

Who: Michigan State (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten) vs. Stanford (11-2, 7-2 Pac-12)

When: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 5:10 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Where: Rose Bowl (89,105), Pasadena, Calif.

Opening Line: Stanford -3

What matters: It’s the Granddaddy of them all for a reason, folks. It’s the Rose Bowl, and it also might be the shortest bowl game of the year as far as amount of time it takes to play the game based on the matchup. This will be Stanford’s 14th appearance in Pasadena, and also its second straight as the Cardinal beat Wisconsin last season 20-14. The Cardinal are 6-6-1 (remember ties?) in their first 13 Rose Bowls. As for Michigan State the wait has been much longer. The Spartans are appearing in the Rose Bowl for the first time since beating USC 20-17 in 1988. It’s their fifth appearance overall, and they have a record of 3-1.

Who matters: Defenses rule both of these squads. Stanford is led by linebackers Shayne Skov and A.J. Tarpley as well as safety Jordan Richards. On the Michigan State side there’s defensive end Shilique Calhoun, linebackers Max Bullough and Denicos Allen, as well as corner Darqueze Dennard. Yards and points will be hard to come by in this matchup, and costly.

Matchup question: This one may just come down to which quarterback can make the big play. Both offenses are built on the run, but with such strong run defenses, this game will likely be settle by which quarterback can make the big plays through the air, Stanford’s Kevin Hogan or Michigan State’s Connor Cook.

Prediction: Michigan State was playing its best football at the end of the season, while Stanford was a bit more inconsistent, even while winning. It’s hard to know how the long layoff will affect both teams, but I predict Michigan State will end the Big Ten’s Rose Bowl losing streak. Michigan State 24 Stanford 17.

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Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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