The 106th Rose Bowl pits two defensive powerhouses against one another in a game that oddsmakers give No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3) a slight advantage over No. 6 Oregon (11-2).
The Pac-12 champs are in “The Granddaddy of Them All” for an eighth time, its last coming in 2015. Wisconsin makes its way to Pasadena for its 10th Rose Bowl appearance, but its first since 2013.
Oddsmakers have the Badgers favored by a field goal. The Ducks are the underdogs, with their moneyline at +125 to Wisconsin’s -145. A $100 bet on those lines would respectively net $125 and $68.97.
Wisconsin and Oregon feature two of the nation’s best defenses. The Badgers ranked 10th in points allowed at 16.1 per game, and the Ducks No. 9 at 15.7. The over/under for the Rose Bowl is 51.5 points.
Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 pm ET.
The ESPN Football Power Index ran 10,000 computer simulations of the 2019 Rose Bowl and found that Oregon wins 53.9 percent of the time. But bettors aren’t buying it, as they believe Wisconsin is the likelier winner.
Two of the Badgers’ three losses came against No. 2 Ohio State, the team that appeared to be a lock for the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship. The Buckeyes, however, lost 29-23 in their semifinal against No. 3 Clemson.
Wisconsin suffered a bad one-point loss at Illinois, a team that went 6-6 in the regular season. The Badgers did have three wins against teams that finished ranked in the CFP – No. 14 Michigan, No. 16 Iowa, and No. 18 Minnesota.
Oregon’s schedule was seemingly easier, the Ducks counting just one win against a team that finished ranked – No. 11 Utah. The Ducks’ chance at securing a playoff spot vanished following a devastating 31-28 loss at Arizona State, a team that went 7-5 in the regular season.
The Ducks defense will be tasked with trying to stop star Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor. He’s just 91 yards shy of reaching 2,000 yards for the second consecutive season – a feat that last occurred in 1996 by Iowa State’s Troy Davis.
Taylor is expected to declare for the NFL Draft after the Rose Bowl, but said he never considered sitting the game.
We earned the right to be here,” Taylor explained. “So, I wanted to finish it out right.”
As for stopping him, Ducks defensive back Thomas Graham Jr. said, “You just got to pursue the ball and you got to gang tackle. He’s a running back that is special in so many ways.”
The Rose Bowl is called “The Granddaddy of Them All” because it’s the oldest bowl game in the country. It began in 1902 as the Tournament East-West football game, and has been played every year since 1916.
It’s contested on January 1, unless the New Year falls on Sunday, in which case the Rose Bowl is then played on the 2nd.
The 2019 Rose Bowl is a rematch of the 2012 game, when No. 6 Oregon beat No. 9 Wisconsin, 45-38.