This year’s Rose Bowl contestants are the bowl’s previous two losers in Oregon and Wisconsin. Both teams face long odds in that no other team other than USC or Washington in the now Pac 12 has won the Rose Bowl since Arizona State defeated Michigan in 1987 and only Ohio State has won it for the Big 10 since Wisconsin beat Stanford in 2000. This will be the sixth appearance in the Rose Bowl for Oregon, but they have not won it since 1917. As a result, the Badgers and Ducks will be extra hungry for a Rose Bowl win. This is a very tight game to pick and I have gone back and forth on who will win. Wisconsin has a veteran quarterback in Russell Wilson (3,199 Pass/Rush Yards 36 Total TDs) and a Heisman trophy finalist in running back Montee Ball (1,759 Rush yards 32 Rush TDs), but Oregon has a fast paced scoring offense that can give any team trouble. The skill positions for the Ducks may be the deciding factor especially their arsenal of running backs led by LaMichael James (149.6 Rush yards per game). I’m taking Oregon in this one even though I think Wisconsin may beat the spread. Either way it should be a great game.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl:
The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl should be an exciting game featuring a couple high powered offenses. Oklahoma State will most likely be too much for Stanford even though the Cardinal will light up the scoreboard. Stanford simply does not have the defense or cornerbacks to match up with the dynamic offense of Oklahoma State led by WR Justin Blackmon (1,336 receiving yards 15 TDs) and QB Brandon Weeden (4,328 pass yards 34 TDs). The Cowboys also boast one of the best offensive lines in college football. This will likely be Andrew Luck’s (3,170 pass yards 35 TDs) last game for Stanford so I do expect him to go out with a bang, but he has limited targets which will especially hurt him in the red zone.
Pick: Oklahoma State
Allstate Sugar Bowl:
Virginia Tech seems about a year or so away from a BCS bowl win and I might have said that about Michigan before the season, but Brady Hoke has overachieved in his first season at Michigan behind a much improved defense (17.2 PAPG) and a double headed rushing attack featuring QB Denard Robinson (3219 total yards 34 total TDs) and RB Fitzgerald Touissant (1,011 Rush yards 9 Rush TDs). If the Hokies want to pull the upset then star running back David Wilson (1,627 Rush Yards 9 Rush TDs) will need to shine. He only had 32 rushing yards on 11 carries in his last game against Clemson in the ACC championship.
Bovada Betting Lines as of January 1, 2012:
Virginia Tech +3