PASADENA, CA- Bowl Season is truly a wondrous time of year; the 2020 Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutualpromises to be perhaps the most exciting and intriguing matchupas the NO. 6 Oregon Ducks face the NO. 8 Wisconsin Badgers. “The Granddaddy Of Them All” boasts two of the nation’s brightest stars with Oregon’s Quarterback Justin Herbert and Wisconsin’s Running Back Jonathan Taylor.
This year’s edition remains traditional fare, one school from the PAC-12, one school from the BIG 10.
A new decade kicks off with a battle of Oregon’s dynamic offense pitted against Wisconsin’s staunch defense. In a rematch of the 2012 Rose Bowl, where the Ducks won a thriller, 45-38. Both programs had to fight tooth and nail down the stretch of the season for the honor ofclinching the beautiful rose in their teeth.
Oregon has risen to national prominence once again under second year head coach Mario Cristobal. At a mark of 11-2, the Ducks won the PAC-12 Conference title, obliterating the Utah Utes, 37-15 behind the legs of running back CJ Verdell, who torched the Utes defense for a whopping 208 yards and three touchdowns. Oregon not only punched their ticket to Pasadena in the lopsided victory, the Ducks also squashed Utah’s hopes and dreams of playing in the College Football Playoff in the process.
It will be the final chance to watch QB Justin Herbert before he enters the NFL. A Senior with long scraggly hair, Herbert threw for 3,333 yards, 33 TDs and only 5 interceptions. Easy to see why he is projected to be selected in the top five of the 2020 NFL Draft.
As for the Badgers, their grit combinedwith a dash of help from the Playoff Selection Committee ensured their spot in the New Year’s Day festivities. At 10-3, Wisconsin is led by one of the best running backs in the history of college football in one Jonathan Taylor.The Badgers running back sits at 1,909 rushing yards on the season, a mere twenty-nine yards behind Oklahoma States Chuba Hubbard for most in the nation. Taylor recently walked away with his second consecutive Doak Taylor award, given to the nation’s premier running back.
Taylor became just the sixth player in FBS history to rush for 6,000 yards in their heartbreaking 34-21 loss to NO. 2 Ohio State in the BIG 10 Championship game. Wisconsin seemed poised for the monumental upset, jumping out to a 21-7 lead in the first half. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes woke up and scored 27 unanswered points to secure the BIG 10 Title, as well as a spot in the heralded College Football Playoff.
The Committee had a tough choice on their hands: Penn St. or Wisconsin? Wisconsin was ranked two spots ahead of the tenth ranked Nittany Lions. In addition, their performance in the BIG 10 Title earned them a spot in “”The Granddaddy of Them All”.
We are living in an era where Bowl games luster and shine are quickly fading away, a time in which Collegiate stars would prefer to train for the NFL Combine rather than play in a perceived meaningless game risking injury. Thankfully, the Rose Bowls aura and significance remains intact. The 2020 Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual will air on ESPN. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m.