Who: No. 10 Stanford Cardinal (11-2, 8-1) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (8-5, 4-4 Big Ten)
When: Tuesday, January 1, 2013, 5 p.m. (EST)
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
There were not too many college football fans who expected to see the Wisconsin Badgers absolutely obliterate the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday to set up a showdown with the Pac-12 Conference champion Stanford Cardinal in the Rose Bowl, but nevertheless this will be one of the better BCS bowl games to watch.
Both teams are playing their best football at the right time, and neither has lost a game by more than seven points this season, so this one is going to come down to the wire regardless of what people think about the Badgers earning an automatic berth with an 8-5 record.
The two have also combined to play in six overtime games this year.
In its most recent contest, Wisconsin put Nebraska away by halftime and managed to rack up 539 rushing yards in its 70-31 rout at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Senior running back Montee Ball, who is the all-time touchdown leader in Football Bowl Subdivision history, freshman Melvin Gordon and junior James White will be a tough test for the Cardinal's rushing defense, which is ranked No. 3 in the country.
Despite only surrendering 87.69 yards per game on the ground, the UCLA Bruins rushed for 284 yards in their 27-24 loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 title game on Friday, which means the Badgers' talented trio should be able to move the chains consistently against the Cardinal on New Year's Day.
Thankfully, Stanford's offense should be up to the task of going blow for blow with the Badgers in Pasadena.
The Cardinal have been a much more explosive team since Kevin Hogan took over as the starting quarterback in place of a struggling Josh Nunes. Hogan has thrown for 964 yards and accounted for 10 total touchdowns in Stanford's last five games.
The Badgers are making their third straight Rose Bowl appearance, while the Cardinal are playing in the nation's oldest bowl game for the first time since they were defeated by Wisconsin, 17-9, in 2000.
Neither team has been particularly impressive in their previous Rose Bowl showings. Stanford has a 5-6-1 overall record, and Wisconsin is 3-5 all-time in "The Granddaddy of Them All."
Additionally, it remains to be seen if Badgers head coach Bret Bielema will coach in the Rose Bowl after accepting the head coaching vacancy at Arkansas Tuesday.
Prediction: Stanford by 7