College Football Insider: Which Team Will Win the Rose Bowl?

Bryan DietzlerSenior Analyst IDecember 29, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - NOVEMBER 27: Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the TCU Horned Frogs celebrates with running back Matthew Tucker #29 against the University of 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

The 2011 Rose Bowl is coming up in just a few days, and it’s a good time to take a look and see which team, either TCU or Wisconsin, will win this game.

The Horned Frogs come into this game with a record of 12-0, while the Badgers enter the Rose Bowl with a record of 11-1 (they lost to the Michigan State Spartans).  

There were those that felt that TCU should have had the opportunity to play in the BCS National Championship Game because they had gone undefeated, but it was felt that the Horned Frogs' schedule was much too easy and they didn’t deserve a shot at the BCS title. Did they get slighted?

Perhaps, but they can show everyone that they were judged wrong with a win over the Wisconsin Badgers in one of the most watched bowl games in college football, the Rose Bowl.

So which team will win? Who has the upper hand in this game? Let’s find out in this extended preview of the Wisconsin Badgers versus the TCU Horned Frogs Rose Bowl Game.

When TCU has the ball

The Horned Frogs offense is led by quarterback Andy Dalton. Dalton has attempted 293 passes with 194 completions for 2,638 yards with 26 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Dalton has been a steady force at the quarterback position for TCU all season and is a big reason why they are where they are right now.

Their rushing attack is led Ed Wesley, who has rushed 162 times for 1,065 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per carry with 11 touchdowns. His closest counterpart, Matthew Tucker, has rushed 144 times for 694 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry with seven touchdowns. Overall, TCU is averaging around 261 yards on the ground per game, while the Badgers defense is allowing 131 yards per game.

Running the ball will still be possible against the Badgers, but they will also have to work in their passing game in order to have success.

Speaking of their passing game, the Horned Frogs feature several good pass receivers, and these guys have helped them achieve their undefeated record this season. Their leader (in yards) is Josh Boyce. He comes into this game having caught 33 passes for 602 yards and six touchdowns with an average of 18.2 yards per catch.

TCU’s leader in catches this year is Jeremy Kerley. He has snagged 50 passes for 517 yards and 10 touchdowns with an average of 10.3 yards per catch. They do like to spread the ball around a bit and have two other receivers with 27 or more catches.  

The Horned Frogs passing game is averaging 202 yards per game, while the Badgers are letting teams gain around 191 yards per game. Things are pretty even there.

Overall, TCU is getting 491 yards per game, while Wisconsin is allowing teams to gain 323 yards per game. With the Horned Frogs' balance on offense, it might make things difficult for the Badgers on defense, not allowing them to key in on any one aspect (running or passing) or any one player in order to throw them off balance and make them struggle. Wisconsin is going to have to try something creative in order to shut down TCU’s offense.

When the Badgers have the ball

Wisconsin has been very well adept on offense this season, and they have been pretty hard to stop on that side of the ball. They are led by quarterback Scott Tolzien, who is one of the better passers in the nation. He has attempted 245 passes, completing 182 of them for 2,300 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.  

The Badgers have a nice group of wide receivers that they have relied upon this season to spread the ball around to and move it down the field.

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Their leader is Lance Kendricks. He has caught 39 passes for 627 yards and five touchdowns with an average of 16.1 yards per catch. They also have guys like Nick Toon (33 catches for 413 yards, three touchdowns and an average of 12.5 yards per catch) and David Gilreath (21 catches, 347 yards, one touchdown with an average of 16.5 yards per catch).

The Badgers passing attack is getting around 202 yards per game, while TCU’s defense is allowing opponents to throw for just 126 yards per game.

With that kind of pass defense, Wisconsin may want to use its powerful rushing attack to try to beat the Horned Frogs in this one.

The Badgers rushing attack is led by James White. White has 148 attempts for 1,029 yards, 14 touchdowns and an average of seven yards per carry. They have two other rushers with over 800 yards this season, and they are John Clay (176 attempts for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns with an average of 5.3 yards per carry) and Montee Ball (141 carries for 864 yards, 17 touchdowns and an average of 6.1 yards per carry).

That’s quite a powerful group of running backs. As a whole, the Badgers rushing offense is gaining right around 247 yards per game, while TCU’s defense is letting teams gain 89 yards on the ground a game. Something will have to give in this game.

Incidentally, the Badgers are scoring an average of 43 points per game, while the Horned Frogs defense is allowing opponents to score just 11 points per game. Once again, something has to give.

TCU is scoring 43 points per game, just like the Badgers, while Wisconsin’s defense is letting teams average 20 points per game.


Statistically speaking, it would appear as if the Horned Frogs have the advantage, but the Badgers have been explosively unstoppable at times this season and have a running game that’s hard to stop. TCU has managed to play tough defense this season and has quietly stopped opponents from tearing them apart all season. That is why they are undefeated heading into this game.

The key to stopping Wisconsin will be to try to shut down its rushing attack, and only one team has had any success doing that this season. TCU’s defense is one of the best in the nation, and they can stop a team’s rushing attack, but they haven’t seen one like they will see in the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

If TCU does manage to shut down the run and forces Tolzien to pass the ball, then the Frogs can take advantage of this and put pressure on him, which will force him to make mistakes. The more pressure that you put on him, the more mistakes he makes.

On the other side of the ball, TCU’s offense needs to keep the ball in their hands as much as they possibly can and not allow the Badgers to get that running game going. The Horned Frogs can do this by using a balanced offense, mixing the running game with the passing game while moving the down the field effectively. If they can do this and limit the Badgers' opportunities, they will win this game.

This contest could either be a high-scoring one or a low-scoring defensive battle. It all depends on which offense is able to possess the ball longer and keep it out of the opponent's hands. This is where the defenses come into play, so you could say that the team that has the best defense on this day will win this game.

TCU has had a very good defense, and if they are on target and able to stop the Badgers rushing attack, then they will help lead the Horned Frogs to a win in this game. TCU will come into this game playing inspired football in an effort to help show everyone that they do indeed belong in the conversation for the national championship, and that’s why a win for them would be very important this Saturday.


This is a very good matchup and perhaps one of the best of all the bowls that will be played this bowl season. The team that possesses the ball more and has the best and most opportunistic defense will win this game, and TCU will want it more, has more experience and should be able to seal the win against the Badgers.

TCU 34, Wisconsin 28

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