With Wisconsin’s Big Ten Championship win over Nebraska, the loser to Stanford in the Rose Bowl has been determined. Okay, just a small joke touching on the weakness of the Big Ten conference this season, but, does Wisconsin stand a chance against Stanford in Pasadena on January 1st? If they play like the team that just completely obliterated Nebraska 70-31, you bet!
Going into yesterday night, I would have told you Wisconsin would lose something like…24-17. I was not convinced Nebraska was as good as their 10-2 record indicated, but I fully thought the Huskers would smell the Roses after yesterday night. However, Wisconsin looked like anything but a team that went 7-5 in the regular season and finished third in the leaders division.
Stanford has a tendency of shutting down good offenses. Such as holding Oregon to only 14 points, along with then no.2 ranked Southern Cal when the Cardinal beat them in week three 21-14. Wisconsin’s one-dimensional offense will have a hard time with the tough Stanford defense.
The 11-2 Cardinal is the toughest opponent Wisconsin will play this season, and if Wisconsin does not want to make their third straight Rose Bowl appearance a third straight loss, they have to develop a passing game. I would not anticipate Stanford letting Bucky get away with only passing the ball 8 times in a game, but after what we saw yesterday, who really knows? If Wisconsin is as unstoppable on the ground in four weeks as they were yesterday, they won’t need a passing game.
I was ready to crown Stanford Rose Bowl Champs regardless of which team won yesterday. However, with Wisconsin’s outstanding performance over the Huskers yesterday, I have a new found hope that if a similar looking Badger team shows up in Pasadena, it could be the right recipe for a Big Ten, Pac 12 Rose Bowl classic!