New Years Day Bowl Games: Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl Open Thread

Stephen Dunn

We take a look at these BCS bowl games and some prospects you should keep an eye on.

The bowls aren't done yet for today. There are still two big games left, and plenty of talent to watch.

Rose Bowl - No. 5 Stanford vs. No. 4 Michigan State (2:00 P.M. PT)

This is going to be smash mouth football at it's finest. Michigan State has one of the best defenses in the country, and Stanford has a formidable one as well. This game is a throwback one, lot's of running, not many gimmicks, just a whole lot of physicality. Some of Jim Harbaugh's former pupils still play for David Shaw and the Cardinal, and they'll be looking to win their second Rose Bowl in a row.

  • Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney will have plenty of opportunities to make an impact today and raise his draft stock. Like his predecessor Stepfan Taylor, Gaffney is a physical runner who keeps the chains moving, but does not flash big time speed. Because of this, Gaffney will more than likely be drafted in round three or later. Gaffney rushed for 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns this season.
  • On the other side of the ball for Stanford, OLB Shayne Skov and DE Trent Murphy will try to wreak havoc on Michigan State. Skov was a Harbaugh favorite and plays like a maniac each and every play. For a team that factors in heart as well as ability, Skov could become a good NFL player if given the chance. He has a love for the game that is undeniable. Trent Murphy has a Dion Jordan type frame and questions heading into the draft. At 6-6" 265 lbs, it remains to be seen whether he will be an OLB or 4-3 DE in the NFL. Murphy has had no trouble getting to the quarterback this season, recording 12 sacks.
  • Michigan State has a cornerback the 49ers could have on their draft board. Darqueeze Denard will be one of the first cornerbacks to come off the board this year, and for good reason. Denard is a highly physical cornerback who possesses good instincts. I don't think Denard slips to the Niners, more thank likely he will be a top 15 pick.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl- No. 15 UCF vs. No. 6 Baylor

Five years ago this would have been a Fiesta Bowl video game match-up, but not anymore. This could be Baylor coach Art Briles last game for Baylor, as he has been linked to Washington for a reunion with his college quarterback, Robert Griffin III.

A lot of eyes will be on UCF quarterback Blake Bortles, as he has a shot to be the first quarterback drafted in May. I believe it will come down to Teddy Bridgewater and Bortles. He has a big time arm, and is kind of a big guy at 6'4", with good mobility as well. I'd compare his mobility to that of Ryan Tannehill. If you haven't seen Bortles play this year, this will be a good time to check him out.

Also worth noting is Baylor guard Cyril Richardson, he projects to be a second round pick, potentially round one with a good combine and pro day.

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