Why Wisconsin-TCU is the Most Intriguing BCS Game

John BaranowskiCorrespondent IDecember 20, 2010

Why Wisconsin-TCU is the Most Intriguing BCS Game

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    MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 18: Head coach Bret Bielema of the Wisconsin Badgers watches as his team takes on the Arizona State Sun Devils at Camp Randall Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Arizona State 20-19.  (Photo by
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    This year's Rose Bowl between TCU and Wisconsin features two of the top five teams in the country who come in with a combined 23-1 record.   For TCU, it's a chance to show the college football world they truly belong to be among the nation's elite.   Questions abound about TCU, and their match up with Wisconsin is one of the most interesting in years.

    The following reasons are why Wisconsin-TCU is the most intriguing BCS game. 

Can the Best Team in the MWC Play With the Best Team in the Big 10?

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    ALBUQUERQUE, NM - NOVEMBER 27: James Dunbar #56 of the TCU Horned Frogs celebrates the win over the New Mexico Lobos on November 27, 2010 at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. TCU won 66-17. (Photo by Eric Draper/Getty Images)
    Eric Draper/Getty Images

    Does TCU deserve to be in a BCS bowl game?   Can the best team in the Mountain West Conference compete with the best of the Big 10 Conference?  

The Big 10's Reputation Is on the Line.

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    MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 16: Fans and players of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrate a win over the Ohio State Buckeyes at Camp Randall Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Ohio State 31-18. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Badgers are representing the Big 10 Conference, which may be the second toughest conference in all of college football behind only the Southeast Conference.   The Big 10's reputation is clearly on the line in the Rose Bowl. 

Two Outstanding Quarterbacks In Wisconsin's Scott Tolzien and TCU's Andy Dalton

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    FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 23:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the TCU Horned Frogs passes the ball against the Air Force Falcons at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    The Rose Bowl will feature two outstanding quarterbacks.   Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien has completed 74.3 percent of his passes for 2,300 yards and 16 touchdowns with only six interceptions.  TCU's Andy Dalton has completed 66.2 percent of his pass attempts, and the Horned Frogs average 230 yards per game passing. 

It's Not Your Father's Wisconsin Badgers: They Can Throw!

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    LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 04:  Quarterback Scott Tolzien #16 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks to pass against the UNLV Rebels during their game at Sam Boyd Stadium September 4, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wisconsin won 41-21.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    It's easy to think of the Badgers with their large offensive line and 1,000-yard running backs every year.  Well, they still have a dominant offensive line and a 1,000-yard rusher, but this year's Badgers average over 200 yards per game passing as well. 

Wisconsin's Bret Bielema Vs TCU's Gary Patterson

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    SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 6: Head coach Gary Patterson of the TCU Horned Frogs calls a play against the Utah Utes during the second half of an NCAA Football game November 6, 2010 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. TCU Beat Utah 47-7.  (Ph
    George Frey/Getty Images

    Coach Gary Patterson led TCU to their second consecutive undefeated regular season.  It's Wisconsin's second consecutive 10+ win season.   Wisconsin may be the best one-loss team in the country.   Badger coach Bret Bielema's five-year coaching record is 49-15, and it's his fifth bowl game.   

Two Top Five Teams Going at It

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    MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 16: Fans of the Wisconsin Badgers poor on to the field following a win against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Camp Randall Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Ohio State 31-18. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The last time the Rose Bowl had two top five teams was USC-Texas for the BCS National Championship.  This one hopes to be as memorable. 

Is TCU's Defense as Good as Advertised?

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    LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 30:  Colin Jones #28 of the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs runs for a 30-yard touchdown after making an interception against the UNLV Rebels as his teammate Jason Teague #27 runs with him during the second quarter of their gam
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    TCU's defense has given up only 137 points in 12 games.  The Horned Frogs have the No. 1 scoring defense in the country and are number one in passing and total defense as well.  Their 4-2-5 defense will be tested, as the Badgers average 450 yards and 43 points per game. 

TCU: Will They Finally Earn Respect and Credibility?

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    DALLAS - NOVEMBER 29:  Texas Christian University head football coach Gary Patterson talks with the media after TCU accepted an invitation for full membership into The Big East Conference on November 29, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas.  TCU will leave the Moun
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    If TCU wins or it's a close game, those questions about TCU's credibility will be answered.  A blow-out loss, and so much of what TCU has accomplished in recent years will be diminished. 

Can TCU Play on a National Stage? How Will They Handle the Pressure?

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    ALBUQUERQUE, NM - NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Gary Patterson (R) of the TCU Horned Frogs with his team on the sidelines during their 66-17 win over the University of New Mexico Lobos on November 27, 2010 at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Phot
    Eric Draper/Getty Images

    It's one thing to play Boise State and the Utah's of the world, but going up against the best of the Big 10 in the Grand Daddy of them all is another, especially when you're undefeated and the No. 3 team in the country. 

It's a Battle of the Irresistible Force Against the Immovable Object.

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    MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 16: Peter Konz #66 of the Wisconsin Badgers prepares to snap the ball to Scott Tolzien #16 against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Camp Randall Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Ohio State 31-18. (Photo
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Wisconsin scored 211 points in their last three games.   TCU gives up only 11 points per game.   Their No. 1 ranked defense will be tested by Wisconsin's balanced offense.   The Badgers average 247 yards rushing and 203 yards passing per game.   TCU's defense allows only 215 yards per game, the best in the country. 

This Has That Unknown Quality Other Games Don't Have: Just How Good Is TCU?

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    ALBUQUERQUE, NM - NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Gary Patterson of the TCU Horned Frogs is doused with Gatorade by his players while celebrating their win over the New Mexico Lobos on November 27, 2010 at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. TCU won 66
    Eric Draper/Getty Images

    The Rose Bowl has the greatest amount of the unknown of any of the BCS bowl games.  Just how good is TCU?   How well will the Horned Frogs match up against the best of the Big 10 Conference?   Is their No. 1 ranked defense legitimate?   Can it stop the high powered Badgers?   Will TCU Gary Patterson get a Gatorade shower?   Wisconsin will provide the answers.