Oregon’s offense will look slow in the 2012 Rose Bowl.
Wisconsin will be able to shut down LaMichael James and company, but not just because of their sixth-ranked defense. The long layoff is what will end up being the Ducks demise.
Let me take you back to the 2011 BCS National Championship. Like this season, Oregon boasted an elite offense. Facing off against Cam Newton’s defensively-challenged Auburn Tigers, a shootout was guaranteed. Oregon went on to score a whopping 19 points in that guaranteed shootout.
What held the explosive Ducks back? It sure wasn’t a stacked Auburn defense.
First off, when a team doesn’t play in a meaningful, live football game for an entire month, their players get rusty. Wisconsin and Oregon are going to be shaking off the rust for at least the first half of the first quarter.
While the lengthy break will do its damage, when rust combines with countless hours of preparation, that’s when offenses get shut down.
Oregon played in the Pac-12 title game on December 2nd and the Badgers in the Big Ten championship on December 3rd. Wisconsin’s defense has had almost an entire month to prepare for the Ducks’ offensive attack—four times as prepared as they would be compared to their average regular season opponent. Considering that Wisconsin’s defense holds opponents to just 17 points a game with a single week of preparation, Oregon could easily end up putting together their worst offensive performance of the season.
You may be thinking, the Ducks offense got to prepare for the Badgers defense for a month, too. True, but rust affects an offense that relies on timing far more than it does a defense relying on instinct.
On top of that, even if an offense knows what coverage a defense is running or what blitz they’re sending, that offense still has to execute. If a defense already knows what an offense is going to do, though, that offense has no hope.
David Daniels is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.