Free College Football Bowl Picks and Spreads: Wisconsin vs Oregon 2012 Rose Bowl Game Vegas Odds, Free Picks, and Expert Predictions on ESPN 1/2/12: The Rose Bowl needs no introduction. It is synonymous with college football greatness, and on Monday, the latest installment of the historic game will feature two of the best offenses in the country. The 10th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers (11-2) return to the Rose Bowl for the second year in a row, looking to avenge last year’s 21-19 loss to TCU. They will meet the fifth-ranked Oregon Ducks (11-2), who are playing in their third straight BCS game but are still searching for a win after falling to Ohio State in the 2010 Rose Bowl and Auburn in last year’s BCS title game. Both sides have plenty of star power, and the Ducks enter the matchup as six-point favorites.
It is impossible to analyze either team without focusing on the prolific offenses. The Ducks ranked third in the country in scoring, averaging 46.2 a game. The Badgers weren’t far behind, ranking fifth in the nation with 44.6 points a game. In addition, both sides ranked in the top 10 in terms of rushing yards and in the top 15 in total yardage.
Despite the similar results, the offenses are actually nothing alike. Wisconsin uses a tradition pro-style offense, taking advantage of its massive offensive line to wear down opponents with long, sustained drivers. Meanwhile, Oregon uses a spread-option attack that takes advantage of the team’s speed to score quickly on big plays. It’s tough to argue with either system, considering the impressive results.
At the center of each offense is a very talented running back. Oregon’s LaMichael James has more than 1,600 yards this season, scoring 18 total touchdowns and averaging more than seven yards per carry. Considering he missed almost three full games with a dislocated elbow, those numbers are even more impressive. Wisconsin’s Montee Ball knows all about impressive numbers. He led the nation with 1,759 rushing yards, and his 38 total touchdowns have him within four scores of tying Barry Sanders’ single-season record. The Heisman finalist has barreled through opposing defenses all season to the tune of 6.4 yards per carry.
While the star running backs will likely do some serious damage Monday, it may be the quarterbacks for either side that decide the outcome. Oregon’s Darron Thomas and Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson both had impressive seasons that went under the radar. Thomas threw 30 touchdowns compared to just six interceptions and added three scores on the ground. Wilson was even better, throwing 31 touchdowns compared to just three picks, while completing more than 72 percent of his passes. Balance has been crucial to the success of both offenses all year, and with both defenses focusing on stopping the run, the QB that makes the most plays in the passing game could tip the scale in favor of their team.
The Ducks could end of having to two biggest X-factors in the matchup. Running back Kenjon Barner and receiver De’Anthony Thomas are both explosive playmakers. Barner ran for almost 1,000 yards and had 11 touchdowns as James’ primary backup. Meanwhile, Thomas piled up 14 scores, doing damage on the ground, in the passing game and on special teams. In a game that could turn into a back and forth shootout, a big play by an unexpected player could be the difference.
There should be no shortage of excitement when these two teams take the field Monday. The Ducks’ offense will likely be too fast for Wisconsin to handle, but the Badgers’ offense will probably be too powerful for Oregon too slow down. The Badgers also have an edge in the quarterback department, with Wilson being the more polished of the two QBs in this matchup. That being said, the Ducks’ offense has a little more firepower and should be able to make one more big play. Oregon has the playmakers to pull out a win, but Wisconsin should keep things close.
Prediction: Wisconsin Badgers (+6) Cover the Spread
Free College Football Picks and NCAAF Predictions: Wisconsin +6 to cover the spread
|2012 Rose Bowl Game: Wisconsin vs Oregon
Time: 5 PM EST on ESPN
Vegas Odds – Favorite: Oregon -6 Total: Over/Under 71.5
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