No. 8 Stanford 17, No. 12 Nebraska 13
This should be a knockdown, drag-out affair with two extremely physical teams doing battle in the marquee bowl with the longest history.
Although the Cornhuskers do need to win against Wisconsin in the Big Ten conference championship, they should be able to manage.
Meanwhile, the Cardinal get a rematch at home with UCLA, a team they just beat down in Pasadena 35-17. David Shaw's team would certainly love to return to this stadium for the second time in three games, and you can count on them doing so.
As for how the actual game between these two would play out once they traverse their respective roads to Pasadena, it would be a test of wills. Stanford has endured a much more difficult schedule in 2012, which is why I am partial to giving them the upper hand in what would be a hotly contested battle.
The quarterback advantage is always huge, and that would have to go to Huskers sophomore Taylor Martinez over redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan of the Cardinal, despite his admirable play in recent weeks. Hogan will be facing the top pass defense in the nation, and must continue to be extremely efficient, as too many turnovers would devastate the Cardinal.
Martinez would have an easier time against the Cardinal secondary, but Stanford happens to have the best rush defense in the country, allowing just over 71 yards per game on the ground.
Much of Martinez's game is based on his ability to run, and the Cardinal showed their ability to shut down a dual-threat dynamo on the road at then second-ranked Oregon. Senior RB Stepfan Taylor would prove to be the ultimate difference for Stanford, willing his resilient team to yet another hard-fought victory.