Wisconsin Badgers vs. Stanford Cardinal (-6.5, 47.5)
WHEN: 5:00 PM ET, Tuesday, January 1, 2013
WHERE: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
ROSE BOWL STORYLINES
1. The Rose Bowl was shaping up as a fairly nondescript matchup with Pac-12 champion Stanford squaring off against a five-loss Wisconsin squad. Then the Badgers unwittingly added some juice and an intriguing subplot to the "The Granddaddy of Them All" when coach Bret Bielema accepted a job at Arkansas, prompting former Wisconsin coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez to return to the sideline on New Year's Day. Alvarez took Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl three times - and won them all.
2. It will be strength against strength in a no-frills, grind-it-out affair between two of the only three schools to be playing in a BCS bowl game for the third straight season. The Badgers rely on a powerhouse ground game led by touchdown machine Montee Ball, the Doak Walker Award winner as the nation's top running back. Stanford counters with a rugged defense that is ranked third nationally against the run with an average of 87.7 yards allowed per game.
3. While Wisconsin went 8-5, eighth-ranked Stanford carries a seven-game winning streak into the Rose Bowl, highlighted by a dramatic victory at then-No. 1 Oregon to dash the Ducks' national championship hopes. The Cardinal have not tasted defeat since an overtime loss at BCS Championship Game finalist Notre Dame on Oct. 13. They beat four ranked opponents to close the season, including UCLA twice. The Badgers, who are playing in Pasadena for the third straight season, beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl following the 1999 season.
TV: 5 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE: Stanford opened at -6.5 and was bet up briefly to -7 before coming down as low as -6. The total has moved from 47.5 to 47 at some books.
CONSENSUS: 54 percent of Covers Consensus picks are on Stanford while 58 are on the over.
WEATHER: The forecast is calling for clear skies and temperatures in the high 50s. Winds are expected to blow SW at 5 mph.
* Badgers are 0-5 ATS in their last five non-conference games.
* Cardinal are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 non-conference games.
* Under is 5-2 in Badgers' last seven bowl games.
* Over is 19-7 in Cardinal's last 26 vs. a team with a winning record.
ABOUT WISCONSIN (8-5, 4-4 Big Ten, 6-7 ATS): Ball could not quite match his brilliant 2011 season, when he finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting, but he still piled up 1,730 yards and ran for 21 scores to become the NCAA career leader with 82 touchdowns. He rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns in a 70-31 drubbing of Nebraska in the Big Ten Conference title game as the Badgers rebounded from back-to-back overtime losses to end the regular season. Ball is not a one-man show in the backfield. James White had 109 yards and four touchdowns and Melvin Gordon added 216 yards on only nine carries as Wisconsin amassed 539 rushing yards against Nebraska. Quarterback Curt Phillips went 2-2 after replacing an injured Joel Stave (collarbone), who hopes to be cleared for the game. Wisconsin's defense ranks 12th nationally versus the run (111.3 yards).
ABOUT STANFORD (11-2, 8-1 Pac-12, 8-5 ATS): The Cardinal also feature a top back in Stepfan Taylor, who ran for 1,442 yards and 12 touchdowns to become the school's all-time leading rusher. Taylor had three straight 100-yard games after Kevin Hogan was inserted as the starting quarterback. Stanford's offense picked up with Hogan as the starter, scoring at least 27 points in four of his five appearances. Hogan completed 72.9 percent of his passes and his mobility added a new dimension to the offense. His top target is star tight end Zach Ertz, who set school records with 66 receptions and 837 yards and had 11 catches in the upset of Oregon. Linebacker Trent Murphy is the leader of a defense that led the nation with 56 sacks and 120 tackles for losses. Ed Reynolds is a big-play safety who intercepted six passes this season and returned three for touchdowns.