History: Like all bowl games, this one started as an attempt to get tourists from the north to head south for the holidays and to bring their money with them. Initially called the “Palm Festival Game”, the second matchup saw ‘Da U lose to Duquense. In 1935, once the game became rebranded under the current name, Miami continued their hospitality by falling to Bucknell. The 1964 Orange Bowl game between Texas and Alabama was the first college bowl game to be televised in prime time. Oh, and it’s being played in Land Shark stadium. Good times.
The game is most known for being a home game for Miami, and has hosted some classic matchups between the Big 8 and Florida schools, including the string of clashes between Miami and Nebraska which often determined the national title. Ohio State has been to Miami on only one occasion, beating Colorado in the 1977 game.
Like it’s partner in Pasadena, this game was also known for a parade highlighting outrageous floats and festivities (outrageous. in Miami. I know.). Unusual in that it was held at night, the event was a part of the new year’s landscape for 62 years until it lost it’s television contract in 1997, which led to it finally being ended in 2002. This event was extremely formative for me- because of my mom’s insistence that we always watch it, I developed a highly passionate hatred of parades, particularly those that involve copious amounts of lip-syncing. Thanks mom.
The story of this Stanford season has been the continued resurgence of the Cardinal under the leadership of Jim Harbaugh. Unfortunately, thought, Stanford may be a victim of their own success, as Harbaugh is now rumored to be the top candidate at both Michigan (his alma mater) and for the San Francisco 49ers. Both are attractive, especially since the Harbaugh family is from the Palo Alto area originally, and it may come down to a bidding war type experience.
You can’t talk about Stanford without acknowledging the fantastic season that quarterback Andrew Luck is having. The junior has thrown 28 TD passes this season, to go along with over 3000 yards and a 70% completion percentage in the air. He’s added another 400+ yards rushing as well, which, when added to soph0more running back Stepfan Taylor’s totals gives the Cardinal an offensive balance that has stretched defensive coordinators’ abilities all season.
Stanford will be looking for their first postseason win since 1996, when they shut out Michigan State in the Sun Bowl. Ah, Sparty…
Stanford/Buckeye Connections: Ohio State is 2-3 when playing Stanford, with their last game being a 23-20 home loss in 1982. The most famous matchup between these teams was the 1970 Rose Bowl, where the #2 Buckeyes were upset 27-17 to the twelfth ranked Cardinal and future Super Bowl MVP QB Jim Plunkett.
When we last saw Frank Beemer’s team they were giving Southern Idaho State fans a reason to hope for a title game opportunity. Then, they fell against FCS’ James Madison, which could have been much, much funnier. After that, I’ll be honest, I stopped paying attention. Sorry, Hokies… But, this goes to show how stupid I am, as they’ve ripped off eleven straight wins including victories over a resurgent Florida State team and the Miami squad that was the highlight of Ohio State’s schedule.
The Hokies have always prided themselves on solid special teams and hard nosed defense, and this season has been no exception. With 22 interceptions thus far on the season, Tech seems more than able to challenge Luck’s passing prowess.
However, it’s QB Tyrod Taylor that will be the answer should Virginia Tech hope to win, and he has proven himself up to the task all season. His numbers are impressive: 23 TDs to only 4 interceptions, as well as over 800 yards on the ground. Running backs Darren Evans and Ryan Williams have achieved 1300 yards and 20 rushing TDs between them.
Hokie/Buckeye connections: Ohio State has not yet faced Beemer-Ball, but that all stops beginning in 2014.
Who Are We Picking?
I like the Hokies, and particularly think their coach does good things with his personnel. That being said, Stanford’s balance and ability to run the ball will be key to their controlling the game. Plus, I think they’ll want to give Coach Harbaugh a “going away present”, even if they don’t know it.