The Rose Bowl will feature two great teams in Wisconsin and Oregon, but it will also feature some great players. But while some players get all of the media attention, some of the guys on both teams continue to impress under the radar.
Maybe, with a big game on one of the biggest stages, it will begin to change people’s perceptions of these players.
Here are the most overrated and underrated players for the Ducks and Badgers.
James has been one of the premier backs in the country, but before people start exalting him as a legend, people need to remember that guys like Kenjon Barmer and De’Anthony Thomas have already shown the ability to fill up the stat sheet.
Chip Kelly is an offensive genius and consistently attacks opposing defenses in their weak spot. The Ducks have gone to a BCS Bowl in every year since he took overm which was also the same time as James took over at running back.
Don’t confuse the success as him being an elite running back with Kelly’s play-calling.
Thomas was a 5-star recruit last year and has already become an integral part of the Oregon offense. He averages more yards per carry than anyone on the team—including James—the third-most running yards on the team and leads the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
With Darron Thomas continuing to improve at quarterback, Thomas will likely get his fair share of media attention next year, but he isn’t well-known outside of the Pac-12. Learn his name now before the bandwagon becomes full.
As a fan of the ACC, I’ve had the opportunity to watch Russell Wilson while he was at N.C. State. He is a good quarterback, but he's not nearly as good as most people think he is.
With an offensive line as good Wisconsin’s and running backs as good as Montee Ball and James White, almost anyone could play decently at quarterback. Opposing defenses are forced to play the run on nearly every down, so the receivers are frequently left wide open.
His numbers also decrease dramatically against the best defenses he has faced. Wilson has become one of the most overhyped players in the entire country.
Nick Toon is a pretty good wide receiver and gets most of the attention, but Abbrederis is a budding star. He already ranks fourth in the country in punt returns, including one for a touchdown.
He has also matched Toon’s production as a receiver, getting 814 yards and seven touchdowns to Toon’s 822 and nine touchdowns. Abbrederis is also only a redshirt sophomore with two years left.
With Toon graduating this year, he will become the focus of the passing game and should be one of the best receivers in the entire Big Ten.