Rose Bowl festivities officially kicked off for the No. 5 Cardinal and No. 6 Hawkeyes on Saturday–both teams took the day to enjoy some R&R at the Disneyland Resort. In a season full of structure and regiment, Stanford head coach David Shaw wanted his boys to take in all the sites and enjoy the fruits of their labor before they head back to the drawing board on Sunday in preparation for the New Years Day matchup.
The biggest task of the day for the Cardinal was discovering methods to bypass the long lines for the attractions at Disneyland.
"For today there is no balance," Shaw said. "Zero football, 100 percent Disney. This is just all fun. We want the guys to enjoy it, experience as much as they can, go on all the rides they can, have a great time. We do our prep tomorrow."
Full festivities for both teams include a day at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure, dinner at Lawry's, and a night out at the Hollywood comedy club. In 2013, Stanford's Joshua Garnett infamously devoured seven cuts of prime rib during the Cardinal's visit to the famed Beverly Hills steak house.
Stanford linebacker Blake Martinez remembers the eating performance all too well.
"I talk about that all the time. It's unreal," Martinez said, recalling the 2013 visit. Blake was also the mastermind behind Stanford's task of making their way to the front of as many ride lines as possible—certainly made easier with the all-access pass he and his fellow teammates were provided with.
While the Cardinal are relaxing, Iowa arrived in Los Angeles early—the Hawkeyes flew in Thursday, and held their first practice on Christmas Day. It hasn't been all work and no play for Iowa, the team hotel is next to Staples Center. Iowa wide receiver Tevaun Smith and some fellow teammates were able to get their hands on tickets to the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers Christmas Day showdown.
"We got pretty good seats," Smith said. "Never been to a Laker game and it was great to see Kobe, too."
True to the form of his season, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey — who finished as the runner-up in this year's Heisman Trophy voting — surprised some of the Hawkeye players, who were meeting him in person for the first time. Specifically, Iowa cornerback Greg Mabin.
"Well, he's a lot smaller in person than I thought," Mabin said when asked about meeting the six-foot-one, 201 pound McCaffrey for the first time. "His film speaks for itself. His film says a lot of words about him. He's a tremendous football player. Size doesn't mean anything. We're definitely going to have our work cut out for us."
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan spoke about meeting the Iowa player's for the first time, and spared no compliment on the squads character and kindness. "They're really good guys," Hogan said. "There's no hatred or animosity. It's all fun."
Exactly what the folks who run the Disneyland Park and Resorts probably want to hear.