TCU Horned Frogs vs Wisconsin Badgers Rose Bowl Picks & Predictions

TCU Horned Frogs vs Wisconsin Badgers
Saturday, 1/1/11, 4:30 PM EDT, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  TCU -2.5
Current Betting Line:  TCU -3
Opening Total:  56.5
Current Total:  56.5

TCU Football
The TCU Horned Frogs are three-point favorites over the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl

TCU will face Wisconsin in the 97th Rose Bowl Game on Saturday afternoon and is coming in off its second consecutive undefeated regular season.  “It’s awesome,” said coach Gary Patterson.  “To know all the players that have played in the Rose Bowl and walk out into a stage that as they say is ‘The Granddaddy of Them All,’ so to be a part of something like that is special.”  The Horned Frogs have become the first school from a non-automatic BCS qualifying conference to play in a BCS game in back-to-back seasons.  The teams will be meeting for just the second time in their history, with the first game being a 14-14 tie at Wisconsin during the 1970 campaign.  TCU is facing a Big Ten opponent for the first time since a 48-45 double-overtime victory over Northwestern in the 2004 season opener and has gone 15-3 in its last 18 games versus squads from conferences with automatic BCS bids.  Over the past three years, the team is 23-13 ATS and is currently a field goal favorite on the college football lines page.

The Horned Frogs will be making their 26th bowl appearance on Saturday and have posted an 11-13-1 record in those previous games.  TCU is 7-4 in bowl games under Patterson as a member of the coaching staff and 5-4 with him as head coach.  Quarterback Andy Dalton will play a major role in this contest and comes in as the nation’s active leader in wins by a signal caller (41).  He has thrown a touchdown pass in 20 consecutive games, the longest streak in Mountain West Conference history.  On the other side of the ball, the defense led the nation in scoring defense, total defense, pass defense and fewest first downs allowed per game.  The unit allowed just 18 touchdowns this season.

Wisconsin will be making its seventh appearance in the Rose Bowl and fourth since 1994.  “They’re a special group,” said fifth-year coach Bret Bielema.  “They believe in something bigger than themselves.”  The Badgers were one of just five teams in the country to rank among the top 25 in both total offense and total defense.  The others were Boise State, TCU, Stanford and Ohio State.  The team averaged 45.2 points per game in Big Ten play, a school record and the second-best mark in conference history.  Wisconsin scored on 55 of 86 possessions in league play, not including six possessions on which they simply ran out the clock to end the half.  Over the past three years, the program is 18-18 ATS and is 1-1 ATS in bowl games.

The Badgers offensive attack is led by being the only team in the country to have three running backs who have gained at least 800 yards on the ground this season.  Wisconsin has an outside chance of becoming the first team in college football history to have three rushers run for at least 1,000 yards in the same season.  The school will be making its ninth straight bowl appearance, including all five seasons under Bielema.

Bettors will be interested in the Horned Frogs being 7-1 ATS as a favorite of 0.5 to 3 points, while the Badgers are 6-0 ATS in their last six games.

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