Rose Bowl Picks: TCU Horned Frogs vs. Wisconsin Badgers Analysis

Last Updated: December 31st, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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The BCS gets started on Saturday afternoon in the traditional Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The “Granddaddy of Them All” this year doesn’t feature a Pac-10 team for the second time in the last six years. Instead, the TCU Horned Frogs become the first team from a mid major conference to crash the party in Pasadena in the modern era. They’ll have to put their undefeated regular season record on the line against the Wisconsin Badgers, who won the Big Ten in a three team tiebreaker. These two squads know that they have a lot to prove in this one, but which team will beat the Rose Bowl lines? You can’t afford to miss these keys to the Rose Bowl.

Key #1: Wisconsin needs to physically overwhelm the Horned Frogs
If there is potentially one knock on this TCU team this year, it is that it is a relatively undersized bunch that hasn’t had to deal with the physical nature of the major conference foes. Sure, beating the Oregon State Beavers, Utah Utes, etc. is nice, but this is a tremendously different type of challenge. The Badgers have three rushers that would be starters and lone backs on most other teams in the country in the form of RB John Clay, RB Montee Ball, and RB James White. These three are all just bruising backs that run behind one of the biggest offensive lines in the country. There is no doubt that the Badgers are going to be coming after the heart of a TCU defense that ranked No. 1 in the land both overall and in scoring, allowing just 11.4 points per game on the campaign. Clay, Ball, and White can all end with 1,000 yards on the season on the ground, and if they do pull it off, they would be the second trio in the history of college football to accomplish the feat. They would also be the first trio of pure running backs to all have at least four digits in yards as well, as the Nevada Wolf Pack did it with QB Colin Kaepernick and two backs.

Rose Bowl Odds at JustBet
TCU Horned Frogs -2.5
Wisconsin Badgers +2.5
Over/Under 57
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Key #2: Andy Dalton has to be a real winner
All too often in these battles between the big boys and the little giants, the quarterback ends up being the man that makes the big difference. Remember QB Jared Zabransky against the Georgia Bulldogs? Or what about “Z” the next year in the Fiesta Bowl? Two totally different games, two totally different results. Another case of horrible play was Hawaii’s QB Colt Brennan against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl. Dalton is the winningest quarterback in TCU history, and he is going to have to prove it in this one. The Wisky defense has stopped some of the best passing attacks that the Big Ten has to offer, and though these Horned Frogs prefer to run the ball, Dalton is going to have to make his throws. The senior completed 66.2 percent of his passes for 2,638 yards and 26 TDs this year, but more importantly, he only threw six picks. Dalton absolutely cannot turn the ball over in this game, or the Badgers are going to eat TCU for lunch on the other side of the ball.

Key #3: Scott Tolzien is going to have to make a few plays
When you have 44 rushing touchdowns between the three backs behind you, you don’t really have to do a whole heck of a lot. However, if the rushing game doesn’t do the job, Tolzien is going to have to make a few plays to keep things moving. Wisconsin quarterbacks aren’t rich in history, especially in bowl games, but Tolzien can be the exception to the rule in the biggest bowl game that this team has been at in quite some time. Tolzien threw for 2,300 yards and completed 74.3 percent of his passes, and just a few big shots will loosen up the purple and black defense and could set up a tremendous day for this offense. Don’t forget about how good WR Lance Kendricks and WR Nick Toon really are. Kendricks only caught 39 passes on the year, but he averaged 16.1 yards per catch and had five scores. Toon came back from an injury early in the season, and he came on strong with 33 grabs, 413 yards, and three TDs.

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Posted in College Football - Last Updated on Friday, December 31st, 2010 @ 7:11 pm (EST)
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