The 2010 bowl games have been announced, and although there are a few places the BCS got it wrong, again, it seems a few of the top games are going to be competitive.
But there's one game in particular that will have my undivided attention, at least on New Year's Day: The 2011 Rose Bowl.
As I was driving to work Monday morning, I had my radio tuned to the normal sports radio station I listen to in the morning as well as on my way home from work. I know that one of the hosts has his own bias to Michigan because he's from the area. But for some reason, I thought he would give a little bit of a different answer when it came to TCU taking on Wisconsin.
I guess I expected a little too much.
Gregg Henson is one of the morning hosts on 105.3 The Fan here in Dallas. He's Michigan honk, which hasn't been easy for him this season.
For whatever reason, I expected Henson—since he's a Dallas guy now—would want to see TCU take down one of the big guys. I thought for sure he'd want to see the team that's been quietly sitting at the number three spot in the rankings most of the season pick up a big win at the bowl game called the "granddaddy of them all."
Instead, Henson came with "TCU is gonna get crushed." But, what did I expect from a Big Ten guy and someone that has hated, and still hates, Boise State.
So, driving along the interstate just north of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, I decided right then I was going to root hard for the Horned Frogs. I want the satisfaction of hearing the backtracking that will end up happening after the Horned Frogs take care of business.
I know this is TCU's final bowl game in the Mountain West Conference before they head to the Big East, but I don't hate them for the move, they did what was best for them.
The Horned Frogs are a better team now than they were in the previous two years. They're a better team that split the two bowl games they played against Boise State and they're better than the team that struggled in the Fiesta Bowl last season.
I didn't grow up in Texas and I've never been a TCU fan. That being said, I believe this team can go to Pasadena and can do something that a lot of people don't expect them to do:
The Badgers are a prolific scoring offense, there's no question about that. This is a team that scored 211 points over their final three games which included an 84-point performance in one of them. Then you look at who those games came against and you'll see two of them came against Indiana and Northwestern. Not exactly college football powerhouses.
This will be the best defense the Badgers have faced all year long outside of Ohio State, a game Wisconsin won at home in the seventh game of the year when the Buckeyes were the number one team in the country.
Say what you want about the schedule that TCU plays in comparison to Wisconsin, but when you really look at the Big Ten, you can make an argument that the only strong teams the Badgers played, next to Ohio State, were Iowa and Michigan State.
Outside of that, the Big Ten really isn't a defensive juggernaut.
Here's where things get sticky for TCU. They either win, or get held down like teams like them always have. A loss to Wisconsin will bring the "big conference" fans out of the woodwork to say, "see, we told you they couldn't hang with a better team from a bigger conference."
The Horned Frogs don't want to hear that and neither do their fans. They want to see their team pick up arguably their biggest win in quite some time.
They're going to have quite the test to pass against the Badgers, who not only have quarterback Scott Tolzien, who's completed 74.3 percent of his passes this season, but they have a 1,000 yard rusher in James White and two other backs, John Clay and Montee Ball, who can do an equal amount of damage.
Let's break it down...
Points per game - TCU (43.3) Wisconsin (43.3)
Yards per game - TCU (491.5) Wisconsin (450.2)
Rushing yards per game - TCU (261.2) Wisconsin (247.3)
Passing yards per game - TCU (230.3) Wisconsin (202.8)
Everyone wants to throw stats out to prove one way or another who's going to win a particular game. They want to show that one team is better than another.
But let's not forget the normal argument that will be made about the stats I just threw out. "Well look who TCU plays, of course they're going to put up big numbers against soft teams. They would never do that against Big Ten teams."
I just took the words right out of a lot of mouths Big Ten fans right then.
While that argument has become old and worn out, it's one that continues to be used. While the Mountain West isn't the Big Ten, I don't see how you can make a strong argument for Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue, and for that matter, Michigan who's giving up 33.8 points per game.
So, I can say right back to those fans who want to use TCU's schedule against them, "Wisconsin's numbers are inflated because of horrible defense in over half the conference."
It goes both ways, Big Ten fans. You're just going to have to deal with that.
While the Badgers might be favored, it will be TCU who will slip under the radar and do something that a lot of people don't expect them to do.
The "Little Sisters of the Poor" will make yet another statement to a conference, and a university president, who would rather stare down their noses at them than take them seriously.