The Wisconsin Badgers and TCU Horned Frogs probably underachieved this year, but they are both going to be playing on Tobacco Road on New Year's Eve for the first of a four pack of NCAA football bowl games at the Rose Car Care Bowl. Which team will beat the college football betting lines? Check out our preview and our Rose Car Care Bowl picks.
Rose Bowl Matchup: TCU Horned Frogs vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Date: Saturday, January 1st, 5:00 ET
Location: Rose Bowl Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Rose Bowl Line: TCU -2.5
Horned Frogs Notes: The team with the top defense in the nation is about to get its sternest test, and you can bet that Head Coach Gary Patterson and his Horned Frogs are looking forward to this challenge. TCU only allowed 215.4 yards and 11.4 points per game this year, both of which ranked No. 1 in the country. If you think that bowl teams did would do better against this squad, think again. They only scored an average of 15.2 points per game. QB Andy Dalton is leading an amazing offense as well that put up at least 45 points six times on the campaign. He is the winningest quarterback in the history of this program, and he is about to wrap up his career. In his senior season, he threw for 2,638 yards and 26 TDs against just six picks. On the ground, seemingly everyone touched the football, as Dalton, RB Ed Wesley, RB Matthew Tucker, and RB Waymon James all had at least 400 yards on the ground. They also combined to rumble for 28 TDs. Through the air, watch out for WR Jeremy Kerley. Kerley is the possession receiver of the bunch, and he caught 50 passes for 517 yards and ten scores on the campaign. Just as was the case with the running game, Dalton spread the ball around to four difference receivers on a regular basis, all of which will have at least 30 catches and at least 400 yards by the time the Rose Bowl is over with.
Badgers Notes: Head Coach Brett Bielema makes no bones about what he is going to do to you when he has the ball on offense. He's running it and running it right at you. This was supposed to be the year that RB John Clay ended up being a Heisman Trophy finalist, but injuries ended that thought. He did rush for 936 yards and 13 TDs on the season, but what his absence did was allow both RB James White and RB Montee Ball to run the heck out of the football. The two had virtually identical stats this year. White rumbled for 148 carries and 1,029 yards, while Ball had 141 rushes for 864 yards. All three runners had at least 13 TDs this year, and no three men in the country, regardless of position, had more TDs combined than these three, who had 44 scores. There is an outside chance that these three can all reach the 1,000 yard barrier for the season, and if they can pull this off, they would be the second trio in the history of college football to pull off the stunt. QB Scott Tolzien was efficient as well, throwing for 2,300 yards and 16 TDs against six picks. WR Nick Toon came on strong at the end of the year, catching 33 passes for 413 yards and three TDs in spite of the fact that he missed the first half of the season due to injury.
The Final Word: One might think that this is a game for the Horned Frogs to make a statement, but we aren't so sure that they are physical enough to stand in and take Wisconsin's best shot. TCU is going to put up a good fight, but this is a game that belongs to the Big Ten for a reason. The Badgers will get their rushing groove on and dump the Horned Frogs in the most physical bowl game of the season, but the little men aren't going to embarrass themselves either.
Rose Bowl Free Pick: Wisconsin +2.5
Rose Bowl Prediction: Wisconsin 27 – TCU 21