In what seems to be their annual birthright, the Bay Area-based Stanford Cardinal are enjoying an era of unprecedented dominance vs. the Los Angeles-based powerhouses of USC and UCLA.
Since 2005, The Cardinal are 8-3 vs. USC and since 2008 have won eight straight meetings vs. UCLA
As they travel down to Los Angeles to face Heisman Trophy hopeful in UCLA Bruins quarterback, Josh Rosen. The seventh-ranked Cardinal have their Heisman hopeful in all-purpose specialist Christian McCaffrey, who accounts for an FBS-high 62 percent of Stanford’s offense.
Below are the three things fans should look for in the latest Cardinal-Bruins clash.
Josh Rosen vs. Christian McCaffrey: Many fans outside of the West Coast don’t know much about the Pac-12 except for these two blond-hair glamor boys. What may be funny is that this game will not only decide who is the top dog—apologies to No.9 Washington—but which player is the current alpha dog—and face—in the entire conference.
In Rosen, the sophomore sensation under center for UCLA, you have perhaps the top overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, who at 6’4 and 215 pounds, may be the top QB in the entire country, depending on who you ask.
For the year, the Manhattan Beach, California native—and PAC-12 Freshmen Offensive Player of the Year—has thrown for 917 yards and four touchdowns while completing 60.1 percent of his passes.
If UCLA hopes to upset the visiting Cardinal, Rosen will need to put on a show, not only for the Bruins fans but for Heisman voters back east in a nationally-televised game who will also be watching.
For McCaffrey, what else can be said about the all-purpose tailback, other than that he is a legit Heisman threat. He runs, he catches and he receives with ease, as he is THE best player set to step foot on the Rose Bowl field tonight. In rushing for 298 yards and three touchdowns for three touchdowns on 53 carries, catching ten passes for 106 yards and two punt returns for 16 yards, McCaffrey may be the most electrifying player in college football NOT named Lamar Jackson.
If Stanford hopes to make the College Football Playoff, a win down at the Rose Bowl—where they are 5-1—would be a good start.
UCLA Needs To Make This A Statement Game: If there were a game that Jose Rosen and the Bruins NEEDED to make a statement. It is this one.
In front of a national audience, at home in primetime against a top-10 team, which has been a nemesis to your program for almost a decade, UCLA needs to come out hot, aggressive and attack the cardinal from the beginning.
Stanford Playing Cardinal Football: If the visiting Cardinal hope to earn their ninth win vs. UCLA and earn their sixth win their last seven trips to Westwood, then they need to go to their bread-and-butter formula of playing power football—with a touch of McCaffrey of course! —stout defense and timely scoring to keep a fired-up and motivated Josh Rosen and the Bruins off the field.
Prediction: Stanford 24 UCLA 23