2016 Hyundai Sun Bowl, Stanford vs. UNC Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

2016 Hyundai Sun Bowl, Stanford vs. UNC Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

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2016 Hyundai Sun Bowl, Stanford vs. UNC Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

Hyundai Sun Bowl Prediction, Stanford vs. North Carolina Game Preview, History, Scores

Three reasons why you should watch the Hyundai Sun Bowl between Stanford (9-3) vs. North Carolina (8-4), why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


Date: Friday, December 30th
Game Time: 2:00 pm
Venue: Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX
Network: CBS

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Scroll down for the video preview and bowl history

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness (1 best-40 worst): 9 out of 40

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Hyundai Sun Bowl

Get ready for the Love. Christian McCaffrey was smart and correct to skip this game to protect himself for the NFL, and his absence will probably be what the game will forever be known for. However, now it’s time to see what the Cardinal have in Bryce Love, the No. 2 man throughout this year. Explosive, he took off for 129 yards when McCaffrey was out against Notre Dame, and finished with 664 yards and two scores, averaging over seven yards per pop – and now he’ll get his shot.

But one superstar NFL prospect who will be playing … Mitch Trubisky. The North Carolina junior has been one of the highest risers in the pro scouting world, with the 6-3, 220-pound size, the mobility, and the pro-style skills everyone at the next level wants. Yeah, if you’re a Cleveland Browns fan, this game is a must-watch, because this could be your savior – at least that’s what you’re hoping for. Accurate, he’s hit 69% of his passes with 28 touchdowns, four picks, and five rushing scores. And now he’s got to solve a Stanford D with a month to prepare.

Stanford is hotter than you think. There’s more than just McCaffrey to Stanford, but you’d never know it. The team got dismissed from the national consciousness after losing three games in four for a 4-3 start, but then it all came together. Okay, okay, okay, the last five games came against teams that didn’t go bowling, but the Cardinal won those five by double digits in each game. However …

Here’s Why North Carolina Will Win The Hyundai Sun Bowl

The Stanford offense has been miserable against any defense that wasn’t a complete and utter disaster. Oh sure, ripping apart Rice was fun, and blowing away Oregon was a hoot, but the O failed miserably against Washington, came up with a field goal in a 10-5 loss to Colorado, and sputtered against Notre Dame and Washington State. North Carolina’s secondary came up with a nice year in terms of yards allowed – yeah, yeah, yeah, more on that in a moment – and Stanford can’t throw the ball a lick.

There’s more than just Trubisky to the UNC O. The bread is buttered with the passing attack, but Elijah Hood is a strong, sound back who combines with T.J. Logan to keep defenses honest. Used sparingly over the second half of the season – Hood was never much of a workhorse – he was good for around 13 carries a game and did a nice job as a receiver. Logan isn’t just a scat back who gets a few carries here and there, he’s one of the nation’s most devastating return men, averaging 33 yards per kickoff return with two scores. Stanford doesn’t have game-breakers – the Tar Heels have Logan.

The Tar Heels don’t turn the ball over all that often. Stanford is offensively challenged as it is – really, don’t let the points against the lightweights fool you – and now it’ll need as many breaks as it can get without No. 5. But UNC doesn’t screw up, turning the ball over just 13 times on the year with four coming in the loss to Virginia Tech, and two against both Virginia and Duke. That means the Tar Heels gave it away just five times in the other nine games. However …

Here’s Why Stanford Will Win The Hyundai Sun Bowl

You have one fewer interception this year than North Carolina does. The Tar Heels came up with a mere one pick all season long, and that came against the Citadel. Recovering fumbles wasn’t much of a problem, and the secondary only allowed 183 yards per game, but the game-changing plays just weren’t there. Stanford’s passing game might stink, but the quarterbacks haven’t thrown a pick since giving one away to Arizona in the middle of the year. The Cardinal have thrown seven touchdowns with no interceptions in the last four games. And yes, the UNC secondary doesn’t give up a lot of yards, but that’s because …

The Tar Heel run D gets absolutely gouged. North Carolina’s strong 2015 season came to a brutal finish losing the ACC Championship to Clemson and the Russell Athletic Bowl to Baylor. That’s nothing to get too into a twist over, except that the D – after giving up 308 rushing yards to Duke – got hit for 319 by the Tigers and a breathtaking 645 yards and seven scores by the Bears. This year’s run defense hasn’t been nearly as awful, but it still allowed 200 rushing yards or more eight times and in each of the last four games. That goes hand-in-hand with …

Ball control, ball control, ball control. Again, forget the last half of the season, this isn’t a great Cardinal offense. It’s got to run well, own third downs – that’s one of the few things it’s been good at – and dominate the clock to keep Trubisky and company off the field. Stanford keeps the ball for almost 33 minutes per game, while UNC is dead last in the nation in time of possession, keeping the ball for just 24 minutes an outing.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Hyundai Sun Bowl

If there’s a team that can handle the loss of McCaffrey without an issue, it’s probably Stanford. The other players expressed nothing but support and respect for McCaffrey after he made his decision, and this might now serve as a rallying cry – of course the team wants to show that it’s more than just its Heisman-caliber running back. Fantastic in bowls under David Shaw, Stanford is 3-1 in its last four bowls, with the Rose Bowl loss to Michigan State the lone blemish. He knows how to get his team ready. Meanwhile, North Carolina has lost three of its last four bowls and six of its last eight. Those last three losses were ugly blowouts.

The last two Sun Bowls have been great, but … this has been one of the bigger hit-or-miss bowls. Do some teams enjoy Juarez a bit too much? Are some just disappointed to be in El Paso? The last two were entertaining, but before that, UCLA’s 42-12 win over Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech’s 21-7 victory over a USC team that didn’t get off the bus were painful. The Pac-12 has won the last three and four of the last five.

Can Stanford get to Trubisky? Maybe. The North Carolina offensive line has been solid in pass protection all year, and Trubisky is great at getting the ball out of his hands in a hurry. Solomon Thomas leads a good enough pass rush to at least bother Trubisky and hurry up his timing just a wee bit. On the flip side, the Cardinal offense – a mega-disappointment in key moments – needs to blast away from the start, because it’s not keeping the quarterbacks from getting popped.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Hyundai Sun Bowl?

Which team will exorcise its demons?

Will it be the Stanford team without its star, or the North Carolina team that’s been mocked for last year’s bowl issues against Baylor?

Trubisky will be great when he has the ball, but that’ll be the problem. Stanford will slow this thing down to a dead stop, with Love and the running game taking over early, leading to manageable third down stops over and over again.

This is where Shaw shines. He knows his team is built for next season, and he knows he doesn’t have the pop of the past. But his defense and running game will take care of business.

Final Score

Stanford 27, North Carolina 23


Stanford -3, o/u: 54.5

ATS Confidence: 3.5
5: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score in your favorite bar
0: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score after covering a College Football Playoff semifinal

Must See Rating: 4
5: New Year’s Eve: Defected In The House, Ministry of Sound, London
0: New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Special Co-Host Kathy Griffin

Get Tickets For The Hyundai Sun Bowl

Bowl game info and where to buy tickets

Sun Bowl History, Results

Dec. 26, 2015 Washington State 20 Miami 14
Dec. 27, 2014 Arizona State 36 Duke 31
Dec. 31, 2013 UCLA 42 Virginia Tech 12
Dec. 31, 2012 Georgia Tech 21 USC 7
Dec. 31, 2011 Utah 30 Georgia Tech 27 (OT)
Dec. 31, 2010 Notre Dame 33 Miami 17
Dec. 31, 2009 Oklahoma 31 Stanford 27
Dec. 31, 2008 Oregon State 3 Pittsburgh 0
Dec. 31, 2007 Oregon 56 USF 21
Dec. 29, 2006 Oregon State 39 Missouri 38
Dec. 30, 2005 UCLA 50 Northwestern 38
Dec. 31, 2004 Arizona State 27 Purdue 23
Dec. 31, 2003 Minnesota 31 Oregon 30
Dec. 31, 2002 Purdue 34 Washington 24
Dec. 31, 2001 Washington State 33 Purdue 27
Dec. 29, 2000 Wisconsin 21 UCLA 20
Dec. 31, 1999 Oregon 24 Minnesota 20
Dec. 31, 1998 TCU 28 USC 19
Dec. 31, 1997 Arizona State 17 Iowa 7
Dec. 31, 1996 Stanford 38 Michigan State 0
Dec. 29, 1995 Iowa 38 Washington 18
Dec. 30, 1994 Texas 35 North Carolina 31
Dec. 31, 1993 Oklahoma 41 Texas Tech 10
Dec. 31, 1992 Baylor 20 Arizona 15
Dec. 31, 1991 UCLA 6 Illinois 3
Dec. 31, 1990 Michigan State 17 USC 16
Dec. 30, 1989 Pittsburgh 31 Texas A&M 28
Dec. 24, 1988 Alabama 29 Army 28
Dec. 25, 1987 Oklahoma State 35 West Virginia 33
Dec. 25, 1986 Alabama 28 Washington 6
Dec. 28, 1985 Arizona 13 Georgia 13
Dec. 22, 1984 Maryland 28 Tennessee 27
Dec. 24, 1983 Alabama 28 SMU 7
Dec. 25, 1982 North Carolina 26 Texas 10
Dec. 26, 1981 Oklahoma 40 Houston 14
Dec. 27, 1980 Nebraska 31 Mississippi St. 17
Dec. 22, 1979 Washington 14 Texas 7
Dec. 23, 1978 Texas 42 Maryland 0
Dec. 31, 1977 Stanford 24 LSU 14
Jan. 2, 1977 Texas A&M 37 Florida 14
Dec. 26, 1975 Pittsburgh 33 Kansas 19
Dec. 28, 1974 Mississippi State 26 North Carolina 24
Dec. 29, 1973 Missouri 34 Auburn 17
Dec. 30, 1972 North Carolina 32 Texas Tech 28
Dec. 18, 1971 LSU 33 Iowa State 15
Dec. 19, 1970 Georgia Tech 17 Texas Tech 9
Dec. 20, 1969 Nebraska 45 Georgia 6
Dec. 30, 1968 Auburn 34 Arizona 10
Dec. 24, 1967 UTEP 14 Mississippi 7
Dec. 24, 1966 Wyoming 28 Florida State 20
Dec. 31, 1965 UTEP 13 TCU 12
Dec. 26, 1964 Georgia 7 Texas Tech 0
Dec. 31, 1963 Oregon 21 SMU 14
Dec. 31, 1962 West Texas State 15 Ohio 14
Dec. 30, 1961 Villanova 17 Wichita State 9
Dec. 31, 1960 New Mexico State 20 Utah State 13
Dec. 31, 1959 New Mexico State 28 North Texas 8
Dec. 31, 1958 Wyoming 14 Hardin-Simmons 6
Jan. 1, 1957 George Washington 13 UTEP 0
Jan. 2, 1956 Wyoming 21 Texas Tech 14
Jan. 1, 1955 UTEP 47 Florida State 20
Jan. 1, 1954 UTEP 37 Southern Miss 14
Jan. 1, 1953 Pacific 26 Southern Miss 7
Jan. 1, 1952 Texas Tech 25 Pacific 14
Jan. 1, 1951 West Texas State 14 Cincinnati 13
Jan. 2, 1950 UTEP 33 Georgetown 20
Jan. 1, 1949 West Virginia 21 UTEP 12
Jan. 1, 1948 Miami Univ. 13 Texas Tech 12
Jan. 1, 1947 Cincinnati 18 Virginia Tech 6
Jan. 1, 1946 New Mexico 34 Denver 24
Jan. 1, 1945 Southwestern 35 Mexico 0
Jan. 1, 1944 Southwestern 7 New Mexico 0
Jan. 1, 1943 Second Air Force 13 Hardin-Simmons 7
Jan. 1, 1942 Tulsa 6 Texas Tech 0
Jan. 1, 1941 Western Reserve 26 Arizona State 13
Jan. 1, 1940 Arizona State 0 Catholic 0
Jan. 2, 1939 Utah 26 New Mexico 0
Jan. 1, 1938 West Virginia 7 Texas Tech 6
Jan. 1, 1937 Hardin-Simmons 34 UTEP 6
Jan. 1, 1936 Hardin-Simmons 14 New Mexico St. 14
Jan. 1, 1935 El Paso H.S. All-Stars 25 Ranger H.S. 21

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