WHO: No. 13 Stanford (9-4) vs. No. 15 TCU (10-3)
WHAT: The 25th Valero Alamo Bowl
WHEN: 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas
THE SKINNY: The Alamo Bowl pits a pair of teams that had dreams of New Year’s Six games dancing in their heads until Championship Weekend, as Stanford and TCU both reached their respective conference championship games. These teams have been on even planes this decade — one step below the elite, but ahead of everyone else. TCU has won 74 games with three conference titles and three top-10 finishes since 2010, while Stanford has racked up 85 wins with four top-10 finishes three conference championships this decade.
This one will be most interesting when Stanford has the ball. TCU ranks fourth nationally in rushing defense at 99.85 yards per game and fifth at 2.91 a carry, but the Frogs weren’t built to defend straight-ahead running attacks like Stanford’s. (One interesting note: TCU defended 446 runs in 13 games, and Stanford ran the ball 446 times in 13 games.) If TCU can push Stanford into obvious passing situations, the game will tilt in the Frogs’ favor.
For TCU, the question comes down, as always, to Kenny Hill. If he can avoid the cataclysmic turnover, TCU stands a chance. Stanford tied for 15th nationally with 25 takeaways this season.
THE PICK: TCU 27, Stanford 23