"The Granddaddy Of Them All": The 2010 Rose Bowl Match-up

Russ HartleyContributor IDecember 29, 2009

EUGENE,OR - DECEMBER 03: A sign is held by a fan in response to the Oregon Ducks winning the game against the Oregon State Beavers 33-37 to advance to the Rose Bowl on December 3, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Rose Bowl Preview: Oregon vs. Ohio State

Probably one of the most anticipated and thrill-seeking games coming this bowl season. The 2010 Rose Bowl features the powerhouse team of Ohio State against the quick and high scoring “Quack Attack” offense of Oregon. The game takes place in Pasadena, California, which is very close to the campus of Oregon (Eugene).

It is the first time Oregon has been to the Rose Bowl since the 1960’s. USC has dominated the Pac 10 Conference, but took an unusual dive this season. The Ducks are coming off a dramatic win over the OSU Beavers, but will now play another OSU team, a OSU team that is at the top of its conference.

Ohio State has struggled in their recent bowl appearances, but still seems to find themselves in a BCS game. They won’t face the usual powerhouse program this year, instead it will be against what some say, the best spread offense in football. Besides Michigan, the Buckeyes have not gone against a true spread attack. They will have to contain QB Jeremiah Masoli, who has shown the college football world that he is more than your average skinny quarterback.

Oregon has had a very successful season They won the Pac-10, beat their rivals (Oregon State), and took down the conference giant, USC. The Ducks are young and quick and their countless uniforms give them their own identity in college football. But in the past, Oregon has a reputation of coming up short when they emerge as a national powerhouse.

Take two years ago, the Ducks were three games from playing in the national championship game. Dixon encountered an injury in the game against Arizona, and their BCS hopes were shot. This year, however, they managed to finish their regular season schedule strong and find themselves in the Rose Bowl.

For the Buckeyes and their season, it has been a journey. They experienced an early loss to rival USC and their talent was questionable heading into conference play. Quarterback Terrell Pryor has been questioned all season and will be judged his whole career. Since he has made himself center of attention by committing late to a university, he has yet to live up to the hype set for him by the media.

He is an athlete that is for sure, but has yet to develop a strong, consistent arm. Pryor has made many mistakes in big games before, including last years’ game against Penn State, both USC games, and the game against Iowa this season.

I’m not here to bash the quarterback, but he has shown he is an athlete,and not an ideal pocket passer. The defense will be the strong suit for the Big Ten Champs. I have heard a lot about “can the Ducks score on Ohio State’s defense?” but then I ask, “Can OSU’s defense stop Oregon’s offense?” It is true that the Ducks haven’t gone against a defense like the Buckeyes, but I don’t think OSU has went against an offense like Oregon’s before.

This will be the most intriguing matchup of the BCS bash. It features a crippled Ohio State team (injuries an suspensions), against a team with a lot to prove. Yes, you can argue that Cincinnati has much to prove too, but I just don’t see that game going in the Bearcats’ favor. Look for a close and exciting game.

The Ducks will win if they can contain Pryor and the "Quack Attack" must find a way to break Ohio State’s defense. OSU will be victorious, if they can jump out to a big lead and shut down the Ducks offensive weapons LaMichael James and Jeremiah Masoli. Whichever team can accomplish these tasks, should be smelling the roses on New Year’s Day.

My Prediction: Oregon: 28 Ohio State: 21