Rose Bowl Preview: TCU vs. Wisconsin

2011 BCS Bowl Previews: BCS National Championship | Fiesta Bowl | Rose Bowl | Orange Bowl | Sugar Bowl

Date: Saturday, January 1 2011
Time: 4:30PM ET

Why Watch: This will be the Badgers first trip to Pasadena in 11 seasons, while the Horned Frogs will become the first team from a non-AQ league in the BCS era to play in the Rose Bowl. Both teams scored 520 points this year, which was tied for the fourth most in the nation. This will be a classic strength vs. strength matchup, as TCU allowed an average of just 11.4 points, 126.3 passing yards and 215.4 total yards per game this year, which were all tops in the FBS. They also held opponents to 89.2 rushing yards per game, which was the third-fewest in the country. The Badgers, meanwhile, were tied for fourth with 43.3 points per game (the same as TCU) and employ a three-headed monster in running backs James White (1,061 yards), John Clay (952) and Montee Ball (881). Can TCU’s speedy defense matchup with Wisconsin’s big bodies on the offensive line?

Game Facts: Wisconsin has won its last three Rose Bowl appearances, while this will be TCU’s first-ever trip to Pasadena. The Badgers are 11-10 all-time in bowls and they’ll be making their ninth-straight bowl appearance. They beat Miami 20-14 in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando last season. The Frogs are 11-14-1 all-time in bowls, but are 7-4 in bowl games under current head coach Gary Patterson. After winning their previous four bowl games, TCU was largely dominated by Boise State at last year’s Fiesta Bowl, even though the final score was, 17-10.

Key Player: Wayne Daniels, TCU.
Want to know if TCU can play with the big boys? We’ll learn a lot by watching Daniels try and get around 6-foot-7 beast of a man and Outland Trophy winner Gabe Carimi. Daniels was an All-American himself, and led TCU with 6.5 sacks this season. If Carimi is able to do to him what he’s been able to do to everyone else he’s gone up against this season (which is destroy them), then TCU might be in for a long day because that likely means Wisconsin won’t have trouble moving the ball. Daniels doesn’t necessarily have to win this battle, but he has to at least hold his own if TCU is going to win.

Odds: TCU -3
Wisconsin opened as a 3-point underdog and while the line dipped to 2.5 at some books, the point spread looks like it has settled in at 3. The over/under total opened at 56.5, but it’s already up to 58.5 as the public expects this to be a high-scoring affair. TCU finished the regular season with a 12-0 record and covered in seven of its 12 overall games. Wisconsin finished with just the one blemish on its record (at Michigan State), and covered in seven of its 12 games as well. The total went over in six of the Frogs’ 12 games, while it went over in eight of the Badgers’ 12 contests (with one push).

How Wisconsin can win: By doing things exactly like it has for the last seven weeks of the season. Since losing to Michigan State, Wisconsin has shown no mercy to opponents, beating them in the trenches and on the scoreboard. I doubt that Wisconsin will deviate much, if at all, from its punishing style. But one thing that tends to happen in a long bowl layoff is that teams lose a bit of the momentum they had in the regular season and coaches tend to over-think things. If they keep it simple and concentrate on simply winning the battles up front, then the Badgers could walk out of Pasadena as Rose Bowl champions.

Why TCU will win: The Horned Frogs are the better overall team. Wisconsin can score, there’s no doubt about that. But the defense is susceptible. Michigan State scored 34 points on the Badgers in their only loss, and Iowa put up 30 on them. TCU’s offense is better than both MSU and Iowa, as Andy Dalton is a much more consistent quarterback than either Kirk Cousins or Ricky Stanzi. The Horned Frogs also have one heck of a defense — the top defense in the country, actually — allowing just 11.4 points per game. Sure, the Horned Frogs didn’t play that tough of a schedule, but they destroyed everyone on it, with the exception of Oregon State (and even that game was never in doubt) and San Diego State, a game made closer by two late SDSU scores.

Prediction: TCU 28, Wisconsin 24

Contributors: Anthony Stalter and Paul Costanzo

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts