This year's edition of the Rose Bowl won't feature the most highly ranked or highly touted teams from the Big Ten or the Pac-12, as the best squads from each conference squandered their opportunities to get there.
That's because undefeated Ohio State, ranked No. 4 in the AP poll, forfeited the right to play postseason football long before the season started, and No. 5 Oregon picked a bad time to lose their only game of the season, as they fell to Stanford in overtime, costing the Ducks a chance to play for the Pac-12 crown.
Nonetheless, two of college football's elite teams will be playing at the 2013 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and tomorrow we'll find out which teams those will be, as the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions will be crowned following the Stanford-UCLA clash on Friday and the Nebraska-Wisconsin game on Saturday night.
With that in mind, here's a look at which two teams will earn themselves a spot in the 2013 Rose Bowl.
The Big Ten championship game features Wisconsin and Nebraska, and at least on paper, this matchup is a rather lopsided one, as the Cornhuskers have already defeated the Badgers once this season.
Nebraska's punishing ground game has helped the Huskers to a 10-2 record, and with dual-threat quarterback Taylor Martinez on the field, Nebraska should be able to get past a Wisconsin team that has been inconsistent all year long.
To their credit, Wisconsin has played close games against Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State, and with one of the nation's stingiest defenses, the Badgers will have a chance at winning on Saturday.
However, in the end, it will be the Huskers that will earn the right to play for the Rose Bowl, and deservedly so, as they've been the better team this season.
Prediction: Nebraska 31, Wisconsin 21
Heading into the season, the 2012 Pac-12 Championship was supposed to feature USC and Oregon, who were both ranked in the AP poll in the preseason as Top Five teams.
But USC stumbled down the stretch and Oregon lost to Stanford, so it'll be UCLA and Stanford playing for Pac-12 supremacy on Friday night.
On paper, No. 8 Stanford is the favorite, especially after beating No. 16 UCLA convincingly the previous weekend by a score of 35-17.
Obviously, in college football, anything can happen, but if Stanford continues to play the way it has all year, it'll be taking on Nebraska at the 2013 Rose Bowl.
Prediction: Stanford 34, UCLA 21
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