Don’t forget to join us on Saturday for our All Day Livechat! Unless you’d rather take down your Christmas Tree…
Grandaddy of them all…
The history of the Rose Bowl speaks for itself, and is known as “The Grandaddy of them all” for a reason. It is the game that football fans gather around their tvs on New Years Day to watch. Typically the Rose Bowl pairs the top champs from both the Big 10 and Pac 10. Originally the “Tournament East West Football Game”, the first matchup was in 1902 and began the bowl experience that we currently gripe about enjoy today.
Last year we all remember as Ohio State took to an Oregon team that everyone was talking about and how great they were. This year Wisconsin returns for the first time in 11 years, to a bowl game they have not lost in the past 3 appearances. This year with Oregon getting the bid in the National Championship the Rose Bowl was forced to take an at-large team, and TCU will become the first Non AQ team to play in the Rose Bowl.
TCU Horned Frogs
TCU is a team that may feel they deserve a shot at the national championship, but the BCS disagrees (which is all that matters). The lack of quality opponents on their schedule really hurt their resume, even tOSU president Gordon Gee made a comment mid-season about “playing the sisters of the poor”. I don’t think anyone would disagree that TCU is a very good football team, but the number of teams in the country that might have gone through their schedule undefeated hurts their perception.
TCU is a defensive minded team, and they will be led by All-American DE Wayne Daniels who had 6.5 sacks this season. He will be going up against Wisconsin’s Outland Trophy winner Gabe Carimi, who has not had issues with many defenders this year. The Horned Frogs defense allowed an average of just 11.4 points, 126.3 passing yards and 215.4 total yards per game this year, which were all tops in the country this season. Wisconsin will be their most daunting task; will TCU be able to slow down their rushing attack? Something that our own Buckeyes could not do as they gave up 184 yds against Wisconsin, and I would say TCU and Ohio State have somewhat comparable defense, at least statistically.
The offense is led by college football’s active winningest QB Andy Dalton, with 41 wins for his career. He threw for a staggering 26 td’s and only 6 int during the 2010 campaign. He is a very accurate passer, and possess the ability to make the big play down the field. Dalton is not the only weapon in the backfield. Sophomore Ed Wesley had a 1000 yd season to go along with reaching paydirt 11 times. Look for Wesley to carry some of the load to try and keep the Wisconsin pass rush off-balance.
The Badgers come in following a great regular season, and have many calling them the best 1 loss team in the country. If not for their one hiccup in East Lansing they would have their name in the hat for the National Championship game.
This is a game that Wisconsin head coach Brett Bielema could really use to put on his resume. He has had very good success in his short time there but following in coach Barry Alvarez’ footsteps has been a challenge for Bielema and the fans, especially since Alvarez is the only coach to ever win a Rose Bowl game at Wisconsin and owns three trophies. A win could go along way in getting that monkey off Bielema’s back- much like Aaron Rodgers’ successes following Brett Farve.
Wisconsin will be led by a huge offensive line, that will try and push the smaller TCU defensive lineman all over the field, and continue their dominance in the run game. Wisconsin has been averaging 247 yds/game on the ground behind their 3 headed monster at RB, John Clay, James White, and Montee Ball. Also joining them in the backfield is the most accurate passer in the Big Ten, Scott Tolzien. He completed 75% of his passes and threw for 16 td’s and 6 ints. He is not the most flashy of players, but what he does give Wisconsin is a game manager who makes the throws in tight spots, to move the chains and extend drives. Tolzien’s favorite target in the passing game is star TE Lance Kendricks. Look for him up the seam and on the out-cuts as Wisconsin trys to offset the running game with their passing game.
Wisconsin’s defense is led by stud DE J.J. Watt, and their opportune pass rush would leads to turnovers. They have had their struggles on defense this year giving up 34 pts to MSU and 30 to Iowa, but did hold teams like Ohio State and Michigan well below their season averages on the ground, and gave up a respectable 132 yds/ground while facing some very good rushing teams.
Eric going out on a limb, saying that the little guy is going to come out with something to prove (note: Eric just hates Wisconsin) Wisky could sure shut up a lot of people with a total schlacking of the Horned Frogs. I see this as a game where Wisky comes out and plays for all the major programs, and beats up on a team that could come out a little too fired up and playing for all small schools, or a dissapointment that they didn’t get into the NC game.
I see the overall advantage for Wisconsin due to them being able to control the LOS, and being able to wear out TCU. Turnovers could tell a story and also special teams, and we know Wisconsin was opportune on special teams this year, with their kickoff return against Ohio State and fake punt against Iowa in two of their biggest games of the season.