Ah, the grand old San FranciscoDiamond WalnutEmeraldKraft Fight Hunger Foster Farms Bowl, now boasting more than 10 years of storied tradition! At least they decided to move it this year from San Francisco's baseball stadium to an actual, you know, stadium designed to host football games. (At the baseball stadium, the margins were so narrow that both teams had to stand on the same side of the field.) And in spite of my snarking about the bowl's history, at least the ACC is getting a chance to play a Pac-12 team, which is something no SEC team will be able to do with the current bowl tie-ins (unless they meet in a playoff game).
Oh, wait... what's that, you say? The Big Ten? No, Stanford's not in the Big Ten, you ninny. What?? MARYLAND is in the Big Ten now?? Hang on, I'll need to go to Wikipedia to verity this.
Ok! So! We're getting a classic B1G-Pac 12 matchup in this game! Just like the Rose Bowl, except this game actually has both a Pac 12 and a B1G opponent this year! Maryland probably overachieved this season, managing to best Penn State and Michigan while earning a 7-5 record in their first year in the B1G, while Stanford limped their way to an identical 7-5 record in a season where their initial expectations were much higher.
I don't think there's any question that the Pac 12 is a better conference than the B1G in 2014, and Maryland was absolutely gobsmacked by all 3 of the good teams they played (Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State). Stanford, on the other hand, only really got blown out by Oregon and Arizona State, and kept all of their other losses very close, including a 2OT game against a scrappy Utah team that they really should have won.
Stanford is correctly the heavy favorite in this game, and although their overall record was a disappointment, their season ended on a high note with a 31-10 demolition of Pac 12 South favorite UCLA. I don't normally like laying 2 full touchdowns in bowl games, which are notoriously unpredictable, but I think the Cardinal is the right choice here.