“Release the Kraken!”
There is a scene in the movie Clash of the Titans when angry Poseidon swims deep into the waters of the sea and unleashes the mightiest, most destructive monster imaginable, the Kraken, to punish mankind.
From the very depths of the ocean floor arises a loathsome colossus of a beast, spawned in Hades, fearsome, black and scaly, with tentacles whipping about furiously and fangs gnashing, dripping and oozing inky slime. The creature roars its hatred and rage, its baleful golden eyes unblinking and searching for prey to smash and destroy.
When at last, the Kraken is shown in all of its hideous fury and awful glory, it is a moment of catharsis, a moment of utter bliss. We want to see this creature unleash havoc and destruction. We want to see something extraordinary, something fantastic.
The 2012 Rose Bowl, matching LaMichael James and the Oregon Ducks, champions of the Pac-12, against Big Ten kings, the Wisconsin Badgers and Montee Ball, promises exactly that: something extraordinary, something fantastic, a game for the ages.
I predict the potent Duck offense will strafe, gouge and puncture the Badger defense for 45 points, and still lose the game by 10. This will be the highest-scoring game in Rose Bowl history, an exciting game, a ferociously-waged clash of the titans, football style.
By the time this slug-fest ends in the wee hours of January 3, the nation will have seen two of the three best running backs in the college ranks in Wisconsin's Montee Ball and Oregon's LaMichael James (The third back, Trent Richardson, wears the colors of the Alabama Crimson Tide.).
RB Montee Ball led the nation in rushing this season with 1,759 yards. His 38 TDs also led the nation, second only to the legendary Barry Sanders for most TDs ever scored by a running back in a single season. Even with 259 carries this season, Ball maintained an impressive 6.4 yards per carry,
The hunch here says that Ball will run roughshod over the questionable Duck defense, rack up 250 yards and four, maybe five, TDs in this wild ride of a Rose Bowl. Doing so, Ball joins an elite club of 2,000-yard rushers in college history and becomes the all-time, single-season TD king.
The heart and soul of the Oregon Ducks and the national leader in rushing yards per game is LaMichael James. James, a 5'9” junior from Texarkana, Tex., averaged 149.6 yards per game this season in guiding the Ducks to an 11-2 slate. James scored 17 TDS this season, averaged an eye-popping 7.4 yards per carry.
Explosively fast and shifty, James will run wild against the Badger defense and rack up a three-touchdown night with about 185 yards on the ground.
It won't be enough, however.
I foresee the two running backs, Montee Ball and LaMichael James, piling up impressive numbers in this Rose Bowl clash. The difference-maker in this offensive orgy, however, is going to be Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson.
Wilson led the nation in passing efficiency in 2011, compiling a ridiculous figure of 191.6. The experienced senior QB tossed for 2,879 yards passing, completed 72.5 percent of his passes and had an astonishing 31 TD passes against only three interceptions.
His experience and poise, his capacity for playing within himself and not handing the ball away to the opposition will deliver this game to the Badgers.
The Rose Bowl record for combined points is 79, accomplished initially in 1963, when the USC Trojans defeated Wisconsin, 42-37, and matched again in that all-time National Championship duel between USC and the Vince Young-led Texas Longhorns in 2006.
I predict an offensive orgy of spectacular big plays, elite level running by the elite of the college game in Badger RB Montee Ball and Oregon Duck speedster and game-breaker, LaMichael James. Blink and either guy is gone, leaving a vapor trail, scorched turf and a wisp of smoke
Oregon scores over 40 points, but loses anyway. Too much Ball and too much Russell Wilson proved too tough for the potent Ducks to stay even.
Wisconsin 55-Oregon 45