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Rose Bowl Betting: Wisconsin, Oregon Face Off In Put-Up-Or-Shut-Up Duel

Posted by Blake Frazier on 12/7/2011 4:39:25 PM
rose bowl betting

The Wisconsin Badgers and the Oregon Ducks have failed to win BCS bowl games under their current coaches. Someone will break the habit of losing in this year’s Granddaddy.

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Oregon Ducks - Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sports betting line: Oregon -6.5

Why Wisconsin Will Win

When you do your homework and assess your sports bet on this game, you cannot ignore the fact that both Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema and Oregon coach Chip Kelly have never won a BCS bowl game. Bielema finally made his first Rose Bowl last season, only to see his team lose to TCU when a game-tying 2-point conversion pass was batted down inside the two-minute mark of regulation. Kelly, for his part, lost to Ohio State in the 2010 Rose Bowl and then saw his Ducks lose to Auburn in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game. Both of these coaches are quite accomplished, and they’ve both made BCS bowls in each of the past two seasons (with Kelly making a BCS game for the third straight year, the only man who can boast such a distinction at this point in time). The stakes involved in this classic Big Ten-versus-Pac-12 matchup in Pasadena, California, are considerable. These programs and their coaches need the validation of a Rose Bowl victory to quiet their critics and affirm their worthiness on college football’s grandest stage, in the shadows of the San Gabriel Mountains and tucked into the Arroyo Seco.
Wisconsin has to like its chances for two simple reasons: balance and preparation time. Balance refers to the combination of quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Montee Ball. Wilson, a transfer from North Carolina State, has given the Badgers a strong-armed, big-play quarterback who can stretch opposing defenses by throwing the ball vertically and scrambling for yardage when plays break down. The knowledge that Wilson can strike at any time has made Ball, owner of 38 touchdowns this season (32 rushing, 6 receiving), a devastatingly effective ballcarrier. Ball is the player defenses primarily try to stop, but the brilliant Badger has been able to run, run, and run some more on a consistent basis in 2011. A total of 1,759 rushing yards has lifted Ball to the top of the list in the Football Bowl Subdivision, punching a ticket to the Downtown Athletic Club in New York for this year’s Heisman Trophy award ceremony. The balance found in Wisconsin’s offense will make the Badgers hard to stop. Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti will definitely have his hands full in this matchup.
The other key is preparation. Over the past three seasons, Oregon has lost five times. Of those five losses, three came in games that either began or ended UO’s season. The Ducks lost two bowl games and this year’s season-opening contest against LSU. (The team’s other losses came against USC this season and against Stanford in the middle of the 2009 campaign.) Wisconsin has what other bowl opponents used to great effect against Oregon: time. It’s very hard to prepare for Oregon’s offensive tempo in the middle of a season, but with a month off, the Badgers can formulate a good defensive plan. Moreover, the month-long layoff takes away rhythm and precision from Oregon’s offense, which thrives on repetitions and is not primed to play well following an extended break. If ever there was a good time to play Oregon, it’s after a long layoff. Wisconsin is catching UO at the right time.

Why Oregon Will Win

The college football betting  experts who are looking at this game are aware of Wisconsin’s strengths, and they’re also aware of Oregon’s deficiencies, but there’s definitely a different way to look at this game: power versus speed in Pasadena.
So many times in the past, a strong and physical Big Ten team has come into the Rose Bowl expecting to overpower a faster opponent from the Pac-10. Usually, the Pac-10 – now the Pac-12 – gets the last laugh. In the 1984 Rose Bowl, a six-win UCLA club humiliated a 10-win Illinois squad by a 45-9 score. In the 1986 game, UCLA did something very similar to a highly-credentialed Iowa club. USC has typically gotten the better of Michigan in Rose Bowl matchups over multiple decades. The Big Ten’s champion hasn’t always played in the Rose Bowl during the Bowl Championship Series’ 14-year existence, but it’s very much worth noting that since Wisconsin’s 2000 Rose Bowl win over Stanford, the Big Ten has won just once in Pasadena in early January. Yes, Ohio State’s win over Oregon in the 2010 Rose Bowl marks the only time in the past 11 seasons that the Big Ten has won the oldest bowl game of them all.
Oregon might be forced to play this game after a one-month layoff, but the Ducks will be motivated to break through on the BCS stage. They know how much their reputation will suffer if they lose, so they will play with a profound purpose against their foe from America’s Dairyland. Running backs LaMichael James and DeAnthony Thomas give UO speed to burn, speed that Wisconsin will find it very hard to contain. Wisconsin’s defense was gashed by Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 3; if that can happen, Oregon coach Chip Kelly can surely exploit the Badgers’ defense on the second day of January.

Who Will Win

It’s a terrific matchup and a defining one as well. Wisconsin and Oregon both want this game as badly as they need it. Ultimately, Pac-12 speed is likely to top Big Ten power in the Rose Bowl. That’s how the story usually ends in college football’s most beautiful and dramatic January setting.



College Football Betting Pick: Oregon

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