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Our 2013 bowl predictions continue on Tuesday, January 1st with the Rose Bowl, and we are set to make our Rose Bowl predictions, tips, and keys to the game for the duel between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Stanford Cardinal.
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2013 Rose Bowl: Wisconsin Badgers vs. Stanford Cardinal
2013 Rose Bowl Location: Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, CA
2013 Rose Bowl Date/Time: Tuesday, January 1st, 5:00 p.m. (ET)
2013 Rose Bowl On TV: ESPN, Watch ESPN
Key #1: The Badgers have to prove that they are a lot better than an 8-5 team
It almost seems like an insult that an 8-5 team is playing in the Rose Bowl this year. Granted, we know that the only reason that Wisconsin even had the chance to play in the Granddaddy of them All this year is because of the way that the Big Ten happened to shake out with both the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Ohio State Buckeyes on bowl probation. It’s tough to say that this is your average 8-5 team, though. The team lost its five games this year by a combined 19 points, and all but one of those losses came against teams that went on to win at least nine games. And, one of those losses against the Nebraska Cornhuskers was avenged in the Big Ten Championship Game. The schedule actually ended up being a lot tougher than we thought at the outset of the year, and there is a real chance for Wisky to prove that it is worthy of finishing ranked in the Top 25 if it can pull off this upset. There’s a reason that this team is playing in its third straight Rose Bowl in spite of the fact that it has used six different quarterbacks in that stretch.
Key #2: The offensive line for the Badgers and the defensive line for the Cardinal have to put on shows against the other
This is a heck of a battle between two units that are just flat out awesome. The offensive line for the Badgers is always one of the best in the nation, and this year has been no exception. In spite of the fact that the team has absolutely no passing game whatsoever, this OL just continues to be one of the best in the nation. RB Montee Ball, RB James White, and RB Melvin Gordon are great, but they wouldn’t get to 3,099 yards combined without a great front five. These three backs averaged 6.14 yards per carry this year, and that doesn’t happen for even the best backs in the game without an outstanding line. The defensive front for Stanford doesn’t get much help from the linebackers in the form of blitzes, but that doesn’t make this group ineffective by any stretch of the imagination. The Cardinal allowed just 88.0 yards per game this year on the ground, and that was the third best mark in the entire nation. Whichever team wins the battle in the trenches is going to be the team that has the upper hand in this game.
Key #3: One of these teams has to produce some form of a passing game
The Badgers have been through a ton of quarterbacks this year. QB Danny O’Brien simply stunk, and he was done after just a few games this year. After that, QB Joel Stave took over and completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 1,104 yards before getting hurt. Now, it’s up to QB Curt Phillips, who has started the last three games for Wisky. The team hasn’t played all that well offensively with Phillips in the lineup, and probably for a good reason. He’s a senior that had only thrown 12 passes in his career prior to this year without throwing a touchdown. On the other side of the field, Stanford has quarterback issues as well. QB Josh Nunes completed just 52.8 percent of his passes and threw seven picks against 10 scores before Head Coach David Shaw pulled the plug on him. Now, it’s up to QB Kevin Hogan, who is the future of the Stanford offense to get the job done. A highly touted recruit, Hogan hasn’t disappointed, but he hasn’t been asked to do much. He mostly throws very simple passes and gets the job done with his legs, which is why his completion percentage is so high at 72.9 percent. That being said, one of these teams badly needs to come up with a great game from their quarterback, and whichever one comes up with it will have the better chance of beating the college football betting odds in this one.
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