When Oregon's season came to a close, they did not know that they would be facing Midwest powerhouse Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on January 2.
Now, the Badgers stand in the way of Oregon winning their first Rose Bowl championship since the early 1900s. However, don’t count out Wisconsin, they are a serious threat at keeping the Ducks from the championship.
For the third year in a row, Pac-12 champions and #6 Oregon (11-2) will face a dual-threat quarterback in a BCS bowl game. Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson is one of the most threatening players in football and he is joined by talented running back Montee Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist. Wisconsin (11-2) has a dominant defense and ranks eighth in the nation in fewest yards allowed (293 per game). This year's statistically dominant team is the best all-around squad that the Oregon Ducks have faced since they lost in their season opener to the LSU Tigers.
As the Ducks prepare for a tough competition against the Badgers, they have to put their other losses behind them and turn their focus on to Wilson. He may be the better of the past two QBs that the Ducks have seen in their BCS games. He completed 72.5 percent of his passes for 2,879 yards with 31 touchdowns this season, against only had three interceptions, and rushed for a further 230 yards and five touchdowns.
While the Badgers look to stop running back LaMichael James, they will have a 5' 11", 210 pound Montee Ball. The junior had 996 yards with 18 touchdowns last season on 163 carries. This year, he has carried the ball 275 times for 1,759 yards for 32 touchdowns. He led the nation in touchdowns and yards.
Wisconsin is known to operate behind what has been traditionally known as a beefy offensive line.
As the Badgers continue their dominance in the Big Ten conference, Oregon are a different story in the Pac-12. The Ducks rank 46th in rushing defense, allowing 137.5 yards per game. However, opponents averaged only 3.6 yards per carry. I believe we can safely say the Ducks have not seen a rushing force that the Badgers’ offer in their running game.
After all the hoopla settles down and the players get down to business, I believe it's going to be Oregon who will have to find a way to get their offense going. The Ducks averaged 47 points in 2010 and 36.1 the year before but they have only averaged 18 points in their last two BCS bowl games. They lost 26-17 to Ohio State and 22-19 to Auburn.
Oregon only averages 46.2 points this season, while Wisconsin, has allowed just 17 point per game, good for the sixth fewest in the nation.
I see Oregon putting their Pac-12 success on the line to prove they are truly one of the most dominant teams on the West Coast. We will see come January 2 in Pasadena, when they face off against one of the nation's best in a top BCS bowl game.