Editor's note: Eugene Weekly asked Isthmus to provide some commentary explaining why Wisconsin will beat Oregon in the Rose Bowl this year. They ran this piece alongside one from their own prognosticator's, which appears here.
Wisconsin football fans who have hitched along for one or more of the team's five visits to the Rose Bowl since 1994 report that the red-clad boosters have left Pasadena-area bartenders impressed and a little frightened. While the Badgers are 3-1 against their opponents in those Rose Bowl appearances, their fans are undefeated and barely challenged in the party arena leading up to the game, regularly drinking bars out of beer and anything else they've got.
Madison might be located more than twice as far from Pasadena as Eugene, but even Eugene Register-Guard sportswriter Rob Moseley admits red will outnumber green -- or whatever color the Ducks plan on wearing for the game -- in the stands Monday. Moseley, clearly an intelligent man who knows his football, predicts a 28-24 victory for Wisconsin.
Will it be that close?
Sure, Oregon puts up some gaudy numbers, ranking third in the country in total offense while Wisconsin is 12th. But the Ducks haven't faced a running game like Wisconsin's, which relies on an intimidating offensive line with a pair of All Americans and Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball at tailback. The Badgers average 5.5 yards per rush this season and more than 237 yards per game and Ball has scored 32 touchdowns this season, more than 45 Division I teams.
That running game helps set up the country's second most efficient passing game. Wisconsin has completed over 70 percent of its passes this season and quarterback Russell Wilson has thrown just three interceptions. His 191.6 quarterback rating is second only to Heisman winner Robert Griffin III.
Of course the football cliché dictates that defense wins championships, but it might be more accurate to say that turnovers lose them. Wisconsin shows up at number three in the country with a turnover margin of 16. Oregon is certainly respectable at 15th on the list, but its 12 fumbles lost will have Wisconsin linebackers Chris Borland and Mike Taylor drooling, particularly when De'Anthony Thomas (five lost fumbles) touches the ball.
On to the intangibles! In the all-important area of parody Twitter accounts, @BeingBielema is pretty hard to beat. The faux coach's feed is often raunchy, but includes such gems as "If I get 3,000 followers by the Rose Bowl, I'll maybe give away a prize (the prize may be herpes)," and "I just ate an entire package of almond bark. It tastes nothing like almonds or bark." I was unable to find a credible fake Chip Kelly on Twitter.
And then there's the issue of fan videos. Last season, UW students famously adapted Cali Swag District's "Teach Me How to Dougie" to "Teach Me How to Bucky," complete with a slick online video, setting in motion a craze that generated T-shirt sales and regular radio airplay. Oregon students quickly followed suit, coming up with "Teach Me How to Ducky." Cute, if unoriginal. Today, YouTube shows nearly 7,000 likes for the Bucky Badger tribute while dislikes on the Ducky vid outnumber likes by 1,115 to 807.