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Rose Bowl 2019: Full Preview and Predictions for Wisconsin vs. Oregon

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert (10) warms up prior to the start of an NCAA college football game against Oregon State in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. Oregon won 24-10. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)
Amanda Loman/Associated Press

In most years, the Rose Bowl is not viewed as a consolation prize for its participants. 

However, that is exactly what it is for the Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks and Big Ten runner-up Wisconsin Badgers. 

Both programs were in the College Football Playoff discussion at some point, but defeats prior to championship weekend cast them into the New Year's Six. 

Oregon, who is the lone power-five champion not in the playoff, is back in Pasadena, California, for the first time since its playoff meeting with Florida State in 2015. 

This is Wisconsin's first Rose Bowl berth since its three-year run as the Big Ten representative from 2011-2013. 

In 2012, the two sides met for a high-scoring affair that the Ducks won through 10 fourth-quarter points. 

                 

Rose Bowl Information

Date: Wednesday, January 1

Start Time: 5 p.m. ET 

TV: ESPN 

Odds (via Vegas Insider): Wisconsin (-3); Over/Under: 49.5

          

Preview

Oregon enters as the higher-ranked side after vaulting seven positions in the final College Football Playoff rankings. 

After losing to Arizona State, the Ducks were banished beneath the Top 10, but their Pac-12 Championship Game triumph over Utah impressed the committee enough to move it up to No. 6. 

Wisconsin's first-half performance in the Big Ten Championship Game likely did enough to keep it at No. 8, which allowed it to remain ahead of Penn State in the race for the conference's Rose Bowl berth. 

AJ Mast/Associated Press

Both offenses could struggle to figure out the opposing defenses since Oregon is ninth in scoring defense with 15.7 points allowed per game and Wisconsin sits 10th with 16.1.

The two teams also boast similar rushing defense numbers, as Wisconsin is eighth and Oregon is 10th. 

That could pose a challenge for the talented running backs on each roster, but they proved on championship weekend they can thrive versus top defensive units.

CJ Verdell ran all over Utah's top-rated rushing defense, with 208 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns. 

That was the second 200-yard, three-score outing for the sophomore, who posted similar numbers against Washington State October 26. 

Jonathan Taylor, the FBS' second-leading rusher, ran for 148 yards and a score versus Ohio State's seventh-ranked rushing defense Saturday. 

In November and December, the junior produced 900 rushing yards and six scores, and he has 10 triple-digit ground performances. 

The only defensive difference is Wisconsin's better passing defense that conceded 191.2 yards per game, while Oregon allowed 222.8 passing yards per contest. 

Mario Cristobal's team can make up for that gap through Justin Herbert, who has 792 more passing yards and 15 more passing scores than Jack Coan. 

If the Rose Bowl comes down to quarterback play, the Oregon senior has the edge, as he has four 300-yard outings compared to one from his counterpart. 

              

Predictions

Oregon (+3) and Over 49.5

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 06: Wide receiver Johnny Johnson III #3 of the Oregon Ducks signals first down after catching against the Utah Utes during the first half of the Pac-12 Football Championship Game at Levi's Stadium on December 06, 2019 in
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Ducks and Badgers have a low bar to clear to hit the over, and both sides should be able to hit 20-25 points. 

If you apply the over/under of 49.5 to the last five Rose Bowls, the over would hit on every occasion.

Oregon's difference-makers could be Johnny Johnson III and Juwan Johnson, who hauled in eight of Herbert's 14 completions vs. Utah. 

Johnny Johnson III has a four-game touchdown streak, and Juwan Johnson has become more of a threat since returning from injury, with 25 receptions for 401 yards in seven contests. 

If the Pac-12 champion can hurt Wisconsin's secondary, it will finish the campaign with back-to-back wins over Top 10 defenses. 

                    

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.