Happy New Year to all Posse readers!
I was going to just let K.N. McBride's post speak for me, but decided to go out on a limb and make my own Rose Bowl prediction with a brief explanation as to WHY I'm picking MSU (No, it's not just because I'm a homer.)
Despite the adage, "Statistics are for losers," I have found statistics to be pretty helpful in my team evaluations. For instance, Ohio State's shaky defensive statistics were a big reason why I felt Michigan State would triumph over the Buckeyes, and I was right (as was K.N., who also picked MSU on Dec. 7).
Here is a stat that jumps out and gives me confidence in the Spartans' chances today: The NCAA rankings for pass defense are as follows: MSU No. 2, Stanford No. 47. Spartan sophomore QB Connor Cook is skillfull enough, and the Spartan receivers talented enough, to really exploit Stanford's secondary. And sorry if I sound disrespectful, but I'm not really enamored of Cardinal signal caller Kevin Hogan. He may make me eat my words, but we'll see. Both teams are excellent against the run (MSU No. 2; Stanford No. 3), and neither is a prolific passing team (MSU 89; Stanford 90).
Too, there are always the intangibles. Despite MSU playing without its star defensive linebacker Max Bullough, the Spartans seem like a team of destiny. The so-called 'experts' have been underestimating MSU all season long. Yet the Spartans have become the only Big Ten team ever to win all of their conference games by double digits.
I have the same feeling about this MSU team that I had about the NY Giants following the 2007 season, when they upset the heavily favored New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII (New England's first and only loss of that season). Entering the tilt as 12-point underdogs, the Giants won, 17-14. This seems like a magical season for the Michigan State Spartans. I'm gonna keep on enjoying the ride with this prediction: MSU 26 Stanford 20.
Right or wrong, win or lose, I'll be back with some follow-up within a day or two.