Rose Bowl 2012 Prediction
The 2012 Rose Bowl between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Oregon Ducks should be one of the better bowl games to watch from this season. Both offenses have built in them the ability to to score at a torrid pace. Oregon put up 69 points early in the season against Nevada and UW scored 62 points against Purdue, so their offenses are more than capable.
Last year the Badgers lost to a speedy TCU team in the 2011 Rose Bowl. The sour taste that was left in their mouths might very well still be there. It might also will them to a win against the Ducks in this years' game. However, if you thought the Horned Frogs were a fast and tempid team, think of Oregon as TCU hopped up on caffeine.
The key for the Badgers will be its ability to control the ball. The time of possesion needs to be heavily in their favor for them to keep pace in this game. With their big, powerful run offense they should be able to push the Ducks' defense around to control the clock. If they can establish the run early on and then mix in the playaction pass to keep the Ducks off balance, the Badgers will be successful on offense.
Just to give fans an idea of how potent Oregon's offense is, Oregon put 27 points on the board against #1 LSU (LSU was ranked #4 at the time) in their second game of the season. Alabama, who will play LSU in the National Championship Game scored 2 field goals the entire game against LSU. The Badgers run a base 4-3 defense, but they will have to counter the quick weapons the Ducks have. The Badgers will bring in a nickelback for most of the game to try and cover the WRs of Oregon.
Look for Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst to punch Oregon's defensive front in the mouth from the get go. If the Badgers can control the clock by running the ball effectively, that will set up Wilson with the play action pass and hopefully keep the Oregon offense off the field. The Ducks time of possesion is the lowest in the PAC-12 (25.03 min/game last of 12 teams in the PAC-12 Conference)because they score so quickly. The Badgers ground game will be key in controling the clock and keeping their defense well rested.
The pressure will be on both defenses. Not so much to stop the opposing offenses, but rather to force key turnovers and turn those turnovers into points. The team that wins the turnover battle will win this game.
Prediction: 38 - 35 Oregon over Wisconsin
Players to Watch
Oregon - Junior RB LaMichael James - Missed 2 games due to injury and still rushed for 1,646 and 17 rushing TDs. If he comes back for his Senior season (he won't) he could go down as the best RB in PAC-12 history. A big Rose Bowl game would only add to his legacy.
Wisconsin -Senior QB Russell Wilson - Came to Wisconsin for his Senior season only and instantly made the Badgers a legitimate National Champion threat. Can throw with accuracy and make defenses miss with his scrambling ability. If the Ducks can't contain him, Wilson could beat them in more ways than one.