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2018 Sun Bowl Pick

College Football

2018 Sun Bowl: Teams, Facts, and Pick

In the old West Texas town of El Paso.

Some fun in the sun is on deck on the border with the 2018 Sun Bowl.

El Paso’s Sun Bowl Stadium, just 1,700 feet from Mexico, is home to a college football classic. The Sun Bowl has been played every season since 1935, and at Sun Bowl Stadium since 1963. This is one of the most historical and traditional bowls in college football, though it was in the early days a contest between high schools. Go figure.

The Pac-12 meets the ACC here at Stanford faces Pittsburgh. Which school picks up the win on New Year’s Eve, as the sun sets on 2018?

Previous Bowls Picked: Cure | New Mexico | Las Vegas | Camellia | New Orleans | Boca Raton | Frisco | Gasparilla | Bahamas | Idaho Potato | Birmingham | Armed Forces | Dollar General | Hawaii | First Responder | Quick Lane | Cheez-It | Independence | Pinstripe | Texas | Music City | Camping World | Alamo | Belk | Arizona | Peach (NY6) | Cotton (CFP) | Orange (CFP) | Military

2018 Sun Bowl: This Year’s Bowl Info

Monday, December 31, 2018, 2:00pm ET (11:00am PT)
Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas
Broadcast on CBS
$3,447,568 payout (Link: College Football Poll)
Stanford is a 6-point favorite

2018 Sun Bowl: Stanford Cardinal

8-4 (6-3 Pac-12); 3rd in Pac-12 North
Best Win: Oregon
Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 62nd, Total Offense 71st, Rushing Offense 123rd, 3rd Downs 52nd, Time of Possession 50th, Turnover Margin 47th, Sacks Allowed 39th, Red Zone 14th
Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense 40th, Total Defense 79th, Rushing Defense 41st, Opponent 3rd Downs 62nd, Sacks Per Game 21st, TFL Per Game 88th, Interceptions 50th, Opponent Red Zone 26th
Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking 2nd, Punts Per Game 54th

2018 Sun Bowl: Pittsburgh Panthers

7-6 (6-2 ACC); ACC Coastal champions
Lost ACC Championship to Clemson
Best Win: Syracuse
Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 85th, Total Offense 97th, Rushing Offense 18th, 3rd Downs 84th, Time of Possession 18th, Turnover Margin 56th, Sacks Allowed 90th, Red Zone 92nd
Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense 79th, Total Defense 69th, Rushing Defense 86th, Opponent 3rd Downs 93rd, Sacks Per Game 57th, TFL Per Game 62nd, Interceptions 75th, Opponent Red Zone 50th
Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking 37th, Punts Per Game 48th

2018 Sun Bowl: Head-to-Head

This contest will be the fourth all-time meeting between Pitt and Stanford. For the first time in a long time, the Cardinal are going to face the Panthers.

Pittsburgh leads the series, 2-1, but be warned: they have not played each other in 86 years. (Link: Winsipedia)

2018 Sun Bowl: Pick

A first look at the stat sheet for Stanford might draw some surprise, particularly if you followed the 2017 season but not 2018 in any serious detail. You may want to know just what happened to Bryce Love, a Heisman finalist in 2017 who stayed in school. He has dealt with injury, which limited his 2018 season. (Link: SB Nation) He rushed for just 739 yards this year after piling up over 2,100 in 2017. The yards per carry fell from 8.1 to 4.5, and the touchdowns almost evaporated, dropping from 19 to only six in 2018. Love missed three games, but in the nine he played had just one 100-yard game early against USC. It’s not to say he was a non-factor, but he was far from the best, and he did not make the Cardinal offense go.

Do not expect to see him in the 2018 Sun Bowl, because like Christian McCaffrey before him, he will skip this same bowl game. (Link: USA Today) You may not notice as Stanford’s offense has been pass-heavy, anyway. KJ Costello of Stanford threw way more passes than Pitt’s Kenny Pickett, and unsurprisingly accumulated more yardage and touchdowns. Pitt, on the other hand, is far more successful at running the ball than the Cardinal. Qadree Ollison was one of the top rushers in the ACC this season.

Stanford rides into this game on a three-game win streak, but Pitt can run the football and chew up clock, keeping Costello and Stanford off the field. Couple that with the fact that this will probably not be a high-scoring game and you might end up with something close. Stanford’s defense is a bit more reliable which should earn them a nod.

Pick: Stanford

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