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Rose Bowl Preview: Stanford and Wisconsin Power Up

If you like old-school power rushing, this game is for you.


Rose Bowl Game, Tuesday, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN

Why it exists: To raise funds to pay for the Rose Parade. Not kidding.

The teams: Stanford and Wisconsin

How Stanford got here: The Cardinal had one of its best seasons ever, going 11-2 and winning the Pac-12. As great as that is, it wasn't that far off from so much more. The team had an inexplicable 17-13 loss to Washington early and fell to Notre Dame in overtime. That's all that's separating David Shaw's team from being the one facing Alabama in the national title game. The team turned a bit of a corner when it subbed in freshman Kevin Hogan for the struggling Josh Nunes at quarterback in November, and the kid led them to big wins over Oregon and later UCLA in the Pac-12 title game. The real leader on offense, though, is 1,442-yard rusher Stepfan Taylor. How important is Taylor? Hogan is the team's second-leading rusher with 209 yards.

How Wisconsin got here: It's hard to be impressed by the Badgers' 2012 regular season resume. The only team worth anything that they beat was Utah State, and they sweated that one out. The only bowl teams they beat were Minnesota and Purdue, and the latter fired its coach. With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible to win the division, Wisconsin did exactly as much as it needed to and no more in order to get to the Big Ten title game. It was 4-4 in the league, and a loss to Purdue would have given the Boilers the, um... Leaders division crown instead. So of course they blew away Nebraska 70-31 despite losing to the Huskers in the regular season and Bret Bielema probably already working towards taking the Arkansas job in the background.

College football fans care: Because it's the Rose Bowl, and east coasters can watch Stanford without it being too late at night.

SEC fans care because: This game is all about the rushing and defense. If you like old-school SEC football, this game will replicate it well.

Watch this game if... : You like the Rose Bowl and/or power football, and also if the Outback and Capital One Bowls have gone south.

cocknfire's pick: Stanford 48, Wisconsin 24

Line: Stanford by 5.5.