December 30, the 83rd Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl will kick off at it’s legendary “High Noon” time. The two teams battling are not a secret; University of North Carolina and Stanford will lock horns on the field and the question has to be asked “Who will win?”
UNC comes into today’s Sun Bowl as the ACC representative at 8-4, but are also a 3 point underdog to Stanford according to Odd Sharks. On the surface, this seems like it is a possibility, but without Christian McCaffery, who accounts for over 40% of the Stanford offense, it’s hard to fully get behind the Cardinal. McCaffery’s decision to sit out the Sun Bowl, is one that will hurt the vaunted Cardinal Offense, who behind McCaffery has averaged 215.6 YPG on the ground, good for 54th in the country.
Helping the betting line stay in favor of Stanford is the absence of the Tar Heels starting Running Back, Elijah Hood, who will miss the game due to an undisclosed injury. However Hood does not account for the amount of offense that McCaffery does for the Cardinal. UNC
is a pass first offence with one of the most potent passing games in all of College Football, averaging 294.3 yards per game on the cannon of gun-slinging QB, Mitch Trubisky.
Neither team has a defense that will wow you, and both are bend but dont break styles of D that are often broken by the other teams strength. Stanford Head Coach, David Shaw, told the El Paso Herald Post there will be no let down from the team who has played in “Bigger” bowls like the Rose Bowl and the College Football Playoff. Knowing the high scoring ability of the Tar Heel offense, Shaw has Stanford prepared focusing more on the phenomenal play of Trubisky.
“You got a phenomenal quarterback that can make all the throws, an outstanding receiving corps that can move the ball quickly down the field and light up the score board. For us, we’ve had a good maturation process throughout the year on our defense.”
UNC Head Coach Larry Fedora, a native Texan, was pleased with coming to El Paso for the Sun Bowl. “This is a unique bowl. The whole community embraces this bowl and does such a great job with the teams that are here.” speaking to the hospitality and overwhelming support of the Sun Bowl by El Pasoans. Fedora believes the true advantage though for UNC lies in their Special Teams, where they have one of the Nation’s highest return averages and two return TD’s from backup Running Back TJ Logan.
Taking all this into consideration, and a slight Carolina Bias, There has to be the question of Stanford’s offense without McCaffery, taking on Carolina’s 113th rushing defense, and a Carolina passing attack that takes on Stanford’s 56th ranked passing D that allows over 218 yards per game.
The drop off between McCaffery to the backup is a 1,000 yard, 10 TD drop off, where the difference between Hood and Logan for UNC is 280 yards and 1 TD on the season. Though Hood’s loss is a spotlight for UNC the Heels are still in the hands of a very capable RB who will be able to allow the “Gun Slinger” (great nickname) Trubiksy to use play action and pick apart the Stanford D.
UNC pulls off the upset, 35-27.
The 2016 edition of the Hyundai Sun Bowl is sure to be a great one! Two teams who are set up as a great match-up for one another and a Sun Bowl that should go down as one of the best in history. You don’t want to miss this game, and there are still a few tickets available.