Pac-12: Stanford playing for league pride in Rose Bowl
Thanks to Oregon State's late fade against Texas in the Alamo Bowl and USC's embarrassing loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl, the Pac-12 is now 2-4 in the postseason. Now come the games that really matter.
The league's New Year's Day opportunity for redemption comes in the Rose Bowl, with Stanford meeting Wisconsin.
This has been a season of credibility for the Cardinal, having lost quarterback Andrew Luck. Coach David Shaw has done a terrific job of maintaining the level of performance that Luck and former coach Jim Harbaugh helped establish. Stanford would love to add a Rose Bowl victory to its Pac-12 championship.
That can happen if the Cardinal defense plays the way it did in a 17-14 win over Oregon in November. Wisconsin will try to run right at Stanford in the tradition of Barry Alvarez's Badger program. Alvarez, Wisconsin's athletic director, is coaching the team today in the wake of Bret Bielema's departure to Arkansas. Bielema's successor, former Utah State coach Gary Andersen, will observe the proceedings from the sideline.
Stanford should have the more diverse offense in this matchup, which may make the difference. It's getting tougher to pick the Pac-12 team in these bowl games, but this is a new year, right? The pick: Stanford 21, Wisconsin 17.