The Big Ten has been strapped with NCAA sanctions this season, and those penalties will directly affect the conference championship game. With no Ohio State appearance, the game won't feature the best of the conference, but it will produce one of the participants in the Rose Bowl.
The Pac-12 championship should be a bit more exciting, with Stanford taking on UCLA, but because we just saw these two teams close out the regular season, the matchup isn't as sexy.
Nonetheless, these two potentially lackluster conference championship games will determine the teams that compete in college football's oldest bowl game.
Here's how you can catch the action:
When: Tuesday, Jan. 1 – 5 p.m. ET
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Live Stream: ESPN3
Listen: ESPN Radio
The Cardinal's defense is stifling, and they shut down the Bruins in the season finale on the road. The championship game will be played at Stanford Stadium, and it is hard to see that game going any different.
Expect to see Stepfan Taylor pound the Bruins' defense again. He has 1394 yards rushing this season, and he ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns against the Bruins on Saturday. He's a big reason the Cardinal are 10-2 this season and 6-0 at home.
Were it not for an early season loss to Washington, the Cardinal would be firmly in the national championship picture.
The Cornhuskers will take on a disappointing Wisconsin team in the Big Ten title game, and they should have no issues handling them. Wisconsin has lost three of its last four games, and Nebraska has already beaten them this season.
They had to come from 21 points down to do it, but it happened.
In Week 5, the Cornhuskers pulled off the major comeback at home, but the championship game will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.
It won't matter, as the Badgers are a one-dimensional offense.
Montee Ball is a great college running back, but he runs against eight men in the box consistently because the team can't throw the ball. Wisconsin is ranked 112th in the nation in passing yards this season.
To compound matters, the Cornhuskers are the nation's best against the pass. They are allowing just 152.2 yards per game through the air.
This game is going to feature a bevy of three-and-outs for the Badgers, and the Cornhuskers will win this game comfortably.
Who wins the Rose Bowl?
Predictions For the Rose Bowl
Stanford is playing like a top-five team right now. The defense has been solid all season—especially against the run, where they have allowed only 857 yards in 12 games.
That's good for tops in the nation.
They match up so well with Nebraska because Taylor Martinez is not exactly a major passing threat. He's definitely improved, but Nebraska still lives and dies with its ability to run the football.
Simply put, I don't see them moving the ball consistently against the Cardinal. The Cornhuskers defense is stout in its own right, but the Cardinal will run the ball with success in this game.
Look for Taylor to finish his collegiate career on a high note. He'll lead the Cardinal to a Rose Bowl victory in his final game.
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