TCU Horned Frogs
(12-0, 7-5 ATS)
(11-1, 7-5 ATS)
It’s the Granddaddy of Them All at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and the Wisconsin Badgers and TCU Horned Frogs are ready for the pageantry, glitz, and glamour of it all. This NCAA football betting battle is about bragging rights, as the Horned Frogs try to play the role of spoiler to the tradition of one of the biggest games of the season.
It’s really, really hard to complain about anything that TCU did this year. The Horned Frogs ranked No. 4 in the land in scoring at 43.3 yards per game and only gave up 215.4 yards and 11.4 points per game, both numbers of which ranked No. 1 in the nation. Though this schedule wasn’t all that hard, there is something to be said about a 47-7 win at the Utah Utes, a 31-3 win over the BYU Cougars, a 38-7 win over the Air Force Falcons, and a 45-10 win over the Baylor Bears. These were all bowl teams this year and were amongst the six bowl eligible teams this year that the defeated. There were only two games this year that were decided by less than double digits. QB Andy Dalton is the winningest quarterback in the history of the TCU program, but he has never faced a challenge like this. He threw for 2,638 yards and 26 TDs this year against six INTs. He had a great ground game to work with as well this year. RBs Ed Wesley, Matthew Tucker, and Waymon James combined for 2,248 yards and 23 TDs on the campaign, and that doesn’t even include the fact that Dalton himself rushed for 407 yards and five scores.
However, if you’re talking about the standard of running games in the country, you have to talk about that of the Badgers. Head Coach John Bielema knows that the power running game is the key to his success in Madison, and he has three fantastic running games that are all future NFLers. RB James White had 1,029 yards, RB John Clay had 936 yards, and RB Montee Ball had 864 yards this year. All three had at least 13 TDs, and the three combined for 44 scores, more than any trio of players had in the nation this year regardless of position. Life is really easy for QB Scott Tolzien. However, he did a lot of work this year, completing 74.3 percent of his passes for 2,300 yards with 16 touchdowns against six INTs. The defense for the Badgers allowed just 320.3 yards per game and 20.5 points per game this year, numbers which were great, but not necessarily as good as they could have been. When you have an offense that is averaging 43.3 points per game and scored 70+ three times this year though, you can afford a few slips on defense.
It’s hard to not like what the Horned Frogs have done this year, but this is a game for the Big Ten. It’s not just a statement game for TCU. It’s one for Wisconsin as well, which hopes to finish No. 2 in the country with a ‘W’ in one of the biggest games of the year. The Badgers and the rushing game get the job done on New Year’s Day.
Rose Bowl Free Pick: Wisconsin Badgers +3