Rose Bowl Preview 2016: Stanford Vs. Iowa Bowl Game Set

Rose Bowl 2016 is officially Stanford vs. Iowa. The official announcement for the 2016 Rose Bowl match-up came out on Sunday, December 6, confirming that the Stanford Cardinal and Iowa Hawkeyes got invited. An official announcement was released by the NCAA, with the game set to take place in Pasadena, California, on January 1.

Many college football analysts felt that the 11-1 Ohio State Buckeyes would represent the Big Ten, but the voters for the College Football Playoff ended up ranking 12-1 Iowa higher in the final rankings. Despite losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game, Iowa didn’t get punished harshly by the College Football Playoff Committee. Instead, Iowa finished ranked No. 6, Ohio State finished ranked No. 7, and the Hawkeyes have started booking hotels.

The 2016 Rose Bowl match-up looks to be an intriguing battle between Stanford and Iowa. Stanford finished the season with an 11-2 record, losing only to Northwestern (10-2) and Oregon (9-3). Significant victories came against Notre Dame (10-2), Washington State (8-4), UCLA (8-4), and USC (8-5). The key victories for Iowa were over Northwestern (10-2), Wisconsin (9-3), Pittsburgh (8-4), and Nebraska (5-7).

Iowa Beats Purdue [Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images]As a team, Iowa finished with 201.8 passing yards, 192 rushing yards, and 32 points per game on the season. The team also had the 15th ranked defense, allowing just 18.5 points per game. Top performers include quarterback C.J. Beathard with 2,570 yards and 15 touchdowns, running back Jordan Canzeri was 976 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, and receiver Matt VandeBerg with 61 catches for 639 yards and three touchdowns.

The 2016 Rose Bowl is going to put a lot of eyes on Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey. He set the all-time record for most all-purpose yards in college football history, displacing Barry Sanders in the record books. He led Stanford with 1,847 rushing yards, 540 receiving yards, and 15 total touchdowns. That includes two passing touchdowns and a return touchdown. McCaffrey posted 1,042 yards on kick return, 67 yards on punt returns, and 39 yards in passing, as well.

Christian McCaffrey Runs Over USC [Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images]As a team, Stanford averaged 210.9 passing yards and 225.1 rushing yards per game. The rushing totals rank Stanford as the 19th best team in the nation. Stanford also averaged 37 points per game (16th) and gave up 23.1 points per game (38th). In addition to having running back Christian McCaffrey as a primary leader, Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan also threw for 2,644 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season.

Stanford won the Pac-12 Conference by beating USC 41-22 in the championship game. It was a very one-sided game that showed just how good McCaffrey has been in every facet of the game. Iowa’s story wasn’t as glamorous, as the team was extremely close to beating Michigan State and advancing to the College Football Playoff. The team had a 13-9 lead right up until the final seconds of the Big Ten Championship Game, but couldn’t quite hold back the Spartans.

The Vegas oddsmakers haven’t weighed in on the 2016 Rose Bowl match-up just yet, but the teams appear to be pretty balanced on paper. Both schools likely have frustrations about coming so close to the College Football Playoff this season, but now they have a big bowl game to create momentum for next season and in offseason recruiting. The winner of the Rose Bowl could also get a nice bump in the final rankings by the coaches and writers.

The television broadcast for the game will begin at 1:30 p.m. PT on ABC. The January 1 game also has a start time of 2:10 p.m. PT for fans of the teams to prepare watching parties. This will be the 102nd annual game, with an estimated payout of $23.9 million going to each team. Ticket prices will start at around $150, with 64,500 tickets allocated to the participating teams and conferences. The countdown to the 2016 Rose Bowl and Stanford vs. Iowa has officially begun.

[Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images]