Rose Bowl 2012: Everything You Need to Know About Wisconsin vs. Oregon
With the Rose Bowl only a few days away, two teams looking for Rose Bowl redemption will be going at it on January 2nd.
This year, the loser of the 2010 Rose Bowl, Oregon, will be going up against the loser of last year's Rose Bowl, Wisconsin. The game will prove to be a step for one of these teams in their ability to gain a feeling of redemption for a past loss.
While the game is closing in, here is a look at everything you need to know about these two football programs as they prepare to go head-to-head in a few days.
98th Rose Bowl
When: Monday, Jan. 2
Kickoff: 5 p.m. EST
Where: Pasadena, Calif.
Site: Rose Bowl stadium
Radio: Westwood One
Live Streaming: ESPN 3
History of the Rose Bowl
The Rose Bowl dates back all the way to 1902 when it was originally known as the "Tournament East-West Game."
More recently, the Pac-12 and Big Ten have been sending representatives to this game, mostly their conference champion, and playing the "Granddaddy of them all."
Since the advent of the BCS, the Rose Bowl has been included as one BCS games along with the Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Orange Bowl.
Over the past few years, AT&T, Sony, Citi and Vizio have all been sponsors and the game has become so big that the payout is up to $18 million.
How Wisconsin Got Here
Wisconsin had quite an eventful season that had both its ups and downs throughout. To start the year, Russell Wilson transferred to the Badgers which immediately made them a conference and nation contender.
Midway through the year, Wisconsin hit a streak of bad luck as two deep Hail Mary passes caused them to drop their only two games of the year.
Despite the losses, Wisconsin rebounded well and met up with Michigan State in the Big Ten title game. After losing to the Spartans on one of those Hail Mary's, Wisconsin got its revenge with a win and punched a ticket to the Rose Bowl.
How Oregon Got Here
For the third straight year, Oregon found themselves on top of the Pac-12 conference and earned themselves a spot in the Rose Bowl.
During conference play, Oregon earned huge wins over Washington and Stanford on the road but had a brief slip up as they lost to USC at home.
To end the year, Oregon defeated Oregon State to secure their spot in the Pac-12 title game and had no issues taking care of UCLA to win the first Pac-12 title game.
Wisconsin’s Best Win
Despite losses on the road to Michigan State and Ohio State, Wisconsin did win 11 other games, but none was better than their victory over Michigan State in the Big Ten title game.
While trailing late in the game, Russell Wilson escaped the pocket on fourth down and connected on a deep pass down inside the Michigan State 10-yard line. The play would prove to be key as they would score a touchdown moments later and would hang on to the conference's first championship game.
Oregon’s Best Win
After losing to LSU in the opening week of the season, Oregon ran off eight straight wins and had a huge game on the road against Stanford.
Going into the game, Stanford was still undefeated and the winner of the game would likely go on to win the division and the conference.
From the opening whistle, Oregon dominated play and left with a huge road victory, 53-30.
Wisconsin’s Bowl History
Wisconsin is heading into their 23rd bowl game in school history and they currently sit an even 11-11.
Since Bret Bielema took over at Wisconsin, he has been below-average, going 2-3 and lost last year's Rose Bowl game to TCU, 21-19.
If the Badgers are able to win on January 2nd, it will be the school's fourth Rose Bowl victory.
Oregon’s Bowl History
While the Ducks have become more consistent in getting to the postseason, they are still chopping away at getting their record back to .500. Currently, the Ducks sit at 9-15 overall, but have dropped some very important games under Chip Kelly.
Along with the three conference titles that Kelly has directed, the Ducks have lost their past two bowl games, the 2010 Rose Bowl and the 2011 National Title game.
A win in this year's Rose Bowl game will go a long way in validating Chip Kelly and his offensive scheme.
Meet Wisconsin’s Best Player
While many players on the Wisconsin roster had a great year, Montee Ball is having a sensational season that landed him in New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation.
During the year, Ball rushed for 1,759 yards and 32 touchdowns. The season has gone so well that Ball is closing in on Barry Sanders' single-season touchdown record and is a constant threat to find the end zone.
Meet Oregon’s Best Player
For the second straight year, LaMichael James carried the load for the Oregon offense and did so while missing time and playing injured.
During the 2011 season, James missed almost three full games and finished the year with 1,646 yards and 17 touchdowns. The season was also the third straight time that James went over 1,500 yards, the first time in conference history.
Wisconsin’s Strengths and Weaknesses
For Wisconsin to be successful in this game they must rush the ball well and defend it successfully, which sums up the team's strengths and weaknesses.
On a positive note, Wisconsin has a tremendous offensive line that will line up and pound the ball against any defense they go up against. Between Russell Wilson and Montee Ball, the Badgers are a threat to run the ball at any time.
While the running game is good, their defense lacks speed and the ability to contain teams that get to the edge. If Oregon looks to run east and west and get to the corners, their speed may give the Badgers trouble.
Oregon’s Strengths and Weaknesses
For Oregon, things are very clear cut. Like most teams, Oregon has its strengths and weaknesses and both are on the same side of the ball.
When looking at the Ducks and their strengths, the most clear-cut advantage they have is with their run game. Behind LaMichael James, the uptempo run game of the Ducks can help put teams away.
On the other hand, while the Ducks can run the ball better than most, the passing game has been hit or miss this year. With the exception of De'Anthony Thomas, the Ducks have lacked a big play threat and it has allowed teams to bring more players up into the box.
Wisconsin’s Expected Starting Lineup
QB- Russell Wilson
FB- Badie Ewing
RB- Montee Ball
WR- Nick Toon
WR- Jarred Abbrederis
OT- Ricky Wagner
OG- Ryan Groy
C- Travis Fredrick
OG- Kevin Zeitler
OT- Josh Oglesby
TE- Jake Byrne
DE- Louis Nzegwu
DT- Ethan Hemer
DT- Patrick Butrym
DE- Pat Muldoon
LB- Mike Taylor
LB- Kevin Claxton
LB- Chris Borland
CB- Marcus Cromartie
SS- Shelton Johnson
FS- Aaron Henry
CB- Antonio Fenelus
P- Brad Nortman
PK- Philip Welch
KOR- Jared Abbrederis
Oregon’s Expected Starting Lineup
QB- Darron Thomas
RB- LaMichael James
WR- Josh Huff
WR- Lavasier Tuinei
WR- Rahsaan Vaugn
TE- David Paulson
OT- Nick Cody
OG- Mark Asper
C- Hroniss Grasu
OG- Carson York
OT- Darrion Weems
DE- Terrell Turner
DT- Wade Keliikipi
DT- Taylor Hart
DE- Dion Jordan
LB- Michael Clay
LB- Dewitt Stuckey
LB- Josh Kaddu
CB- Terrance Mitchell
SS- John Boyett
FS- Eddie Pleasant
CB- Anthony Gildon
P- Jackson Rice
PK – Alejandro Maldonado
KOR – De'Anthony Thomas
The key matchup during the Rose Bowl is going to be LaMichael James versus the Wisconsin linebackers.
Coming into the game, Oregon knows that the success that they can have will be found on the edges with outside runs and quick bubble screens. While James has the strength to run the ball inside, the size of Wisconsin may be too much, which will force him outside.
At the end of the day, if James can win the race to the edges and get outside of the linebackers' contain, it will be a long day for the Badgers.
When these two teams get ready to kick it off in a few days, one thing that is for sure is we will witness a lot of points going up on the board.
Each team has a unique challenge in this game. Wisconsin has to find a way to contain the speed of the Ducks while Oregon must find a way to stand up to the strength and size of the Badgers.
While the Badgers will provide a huge challenge for the Ducks, Oregon has too much speed and the ability to get to the edge will prove to be the winning factor for Oregon.
Oregon 46, Wisconsin 37