Rose Bowl 2013: Why Nebraska Is a Lock to Battle Stanford

Jake Martin@JakeMartinSECCorrespondent IIINovember 25, 2012

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  The Stanford Cardinal wait to take the field for the game against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on October 13, 2012 in Pasadena, California. Stanford won 35-17.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Nebraska taking on Stanford in the 2013 Rose Bowl is a done deal.

Both the Pac-12 championship and Big Ten championship games are serving as play-in games for the Rose Bowl this season, and both games feature rematches.

So, for those who can't wait for the action on the field to settle who'll play in the Rose Bowl, just look at encounters during the regular season between the four teams involved in both championship games.

It can be as simple as that, because the winners of both games are red hot right now, while the other teams aren't.

With Ohio State ineligible for a bowl game, the winner of Nebraska and Wisconsin next Saturday will gain the right to play in the Rose Bowl. Chalk that one up to Nebraska.

To say Wisconsin has had a down season really doesn't do it justice. A 7-5 record for a team that's come to expect a 10-win season? It hasn't been the smoothest of rides for Wisconsin fans this year.

They've lost multiple close games, including a 30-27 game against Nebraska, and as the Badgers enter this matchup Saturday night with two straight losses, Nebraska undoubtedly has the momentum.

The Cornhuskers are on a six-game winning streak, so who's to say this game won't be any different from the game that occurred on Sept. 29 between these two?

Sure, Nebraska may have won a close one, but the Cornhuskers dominated the football game. A sloppy start gave Wisconsin a 20-3 first-half lead.

And after trailing 27-10 in the third quarter, Nebraska scored 20 unanswered points to beat the Badgers. Nebraska out-gained Wisconsin 440 yards to 295 in the game, and with Nebraska coming into this game with six straight wins, the rematch could get downright ugly.

So, more than likely Nebraska will represent the Big Ten, but who will the Cornhuskers face? Well, if you watched any of the Stanford/UCLA game Saturday evening, you'd know that one is a no-brainer.

Stanford wiped the floor with UCLA 35-17, and in a rare turn of events, both teams will have to face each other again the following week in the conference championship game. Think Pac-12 officials envisioned Oregon and USC sitting that game out?

Though UCLA likely held back from showing Stanford everything in the contest, chances are it won't make a hint of a difference come this Friday night.

Expect UCLA to compete better because its pride and heart will be questioned after getting blown out at home. But don't expect the Bruins to pull off the victory.

It's hard to beat a team that already beat you once, and facing them again in just a week's time after they manhandled you is going to be tough for UCLA's psyche.

It'll overwhelm the Bruins, and though this game should be closer, Stanford will come out as the victor again. 

As the NFL playoffs have shown the past two seasons, football is all about peaking at the end of the season, and both Stanford and Nebraska are doing so. That will ensure a Nebraska/Stanford showdown in the 2013 Rose Bowl.