WISCONSIN BADGERS (8-5)
vs. STANFORD CARDINAL (11-2)
Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA
Kickoff: Tuesday, 5:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Stanford -6.5, Total: 47
The Rose Bowl kicks off Tuesday when Big Ten champion Wisconsin faces Pac-12 title winner Stanford.
Wisconsin makes its third straight Rose Bowl appearance, but not with head coach Bret Bielema who surprisingly took the Arkansas job, leaving AD and former coach Barry Alvarez to guide the team. The Badgers are the first five-loss team to play in this bowl, but three of their defeats came in overtime, and they just crushed Nebraska 70-31 in the Big Ten title game. Stanford has been rolling since a controversial loss at Notre Dame, tallying seven straight wins (5-2 ATS). This matchup features two excellent runners in Badgers RB Montee Ball (133 rush YPG) and Cardinal RB Stepfan Taylor (111 rush YPG).
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Wisconsin has lost back-to-back heart breakers in Pasadena, falling 21-19 to TCU in 2011 and 45-38 to Oregon in 2012. However, Alvarez has won all three Rose Bowls he's coached in, and has an impressive 8-3 bowl record. As this could be the final coaching game for Alvarez, it will definitely mark the final collegiate game for Montee Ball, who is the all-time FBS rushing touchdown leader with 76, and his 82 total touchdowns are also an NCAA record. But he wouldn't have these gaudy numbers if he tried to run against a defense like Stanford has (87.7 rushing YPG, 3rd in nation). Wisconsin has yet to determine whether first-string QB Joel Stave will be recovered enough from his broken collarbone sustained on Oct. 27, or if senior Curt Phillips will start under center.
Stanford is playing in its third straight BCS bowl, crushing Virginia Tech 40-12 in the 2011 Orange Bowl and covering the spread in a wild 41-38 overtime loss to Oklahoma State in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl. The Cardinal enter this game red-hot, taking down four straight ranked opponents -- including No. 1 Oregon on the road -- as part of their seven wins in a row. No offensive player is more valuable than Stepfan Taylor who rushed for 1,442 yards this season. It won't be easy adding onto that pile of yards though, as Wisconsin ranks 22nd in the nation in run defense (124.5 YPG). His punishing style of running, and durable frame has allowed Stanford to tally a 32:57 time of possession this year. QB Kevin Hogan has been strong since taking over the starting role, throwing 8 TD and 3 INT while leading his team to 30.8 PPG and 394 total YPG.