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Rose Bowl

TCU vs. Wisconsin

Betting Line: TCU -3 o/u 58



Last year college football fans complained that the BCS wasn't giving non AQ schools a shot to knock off one of the big BCS schools when they paired Texas Christian University against Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. TCU lost that game, but will get a shot at beating a Big Ten champion when they go head to head with Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. The Badgers have put together an incredible 11-1 season and were one of the most prolific offenses towards the end of the year. The undefeated 12-0 Horned Frogs weren't too shabby either. This game promises to be a hard fought and closely matched contest.

This game opened with TCU as a 3 point favorite. These teams are tied in PPG at 43.3. The Horned Frogs lead the nation Points Against at 11.4 compared to 20.5 for the Badgers. Both teams are 6-5 ATS. The total opened at 56.5, but has since moved to 58.5. This could be partly due to the fact that Wisconsin has put up 70 points twice and 83 points once this year. The total has gone over in 7 of their last 8 games. TCU clearly knows how to score as well.

Senior QB Scott Tolzien has done a good job calling the shots in the huddle for Wisconsin. Tolzien has the best completion percentage in the country at 74.3%. He has passed for 2,300 yards and 16 TDs this year. His best game of the year was the last one he played in which he completed 15 of 19 passes for 230 yards and 4 TDs this year. Tolzien has worked him magic behind an offensive line that is among the largest in the country. These boys are BIG. They are a large reason why Wisconsin has perhaps the best rushing attack in the FBS.

Both freshman James White and junior John Clay are prolific runners. Clay has missed the Badger's last three games, but still owns 936 yards and 13 TDs this year. He had 104 yards and 2 TDs against Ohio State. White has been incredible late in the year with 1,029 yards and 14 TDs. Establishing the run will be priority number one for Wisconsin. They have produced 300+ rushing yards and 500+ total yards in each of their last three games.

2009 AP Coach of the Year Gary Patterson has his offense running like a well oiled machine, albeit against lesser competition. QB Andy Dalton has improved by leaps and bounds in his senior year. The 6-3 Katy, TX native has 2,638 yards and 26 TDs this year. He showed great poise completing 24 of 36 passes for 273 yards and 4 TDs against BYU. His top WR, Jeremy Kerley, had 3 TD catches against San Diego State. The running game will be very important for TCU. They have two strong sophomore RBs named Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker. The latter has 694 yards and 7 TDs this year. Wesley has better stats at 1,065 yards and 11 TDs. Look for Patterson to make good use of both RBs.

The Wisconsin defense has really stepped their game up in big events. They held the Buckeyes of Ohio State to 311 total yards and 18 points. The prolific Michigan offense could only muster 28 points against Wisconsin. 

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While the Badgers have a good defense, the Horned Frogs have a great one. They rank the best in the country in many categories, including Points Against. They shut out both Wyoming and Colorado State and held BYU to 3 points and Utah to just 7. They will match their speed against Wisconsin's size.

You won't hear us making a case for TCU being the best team in the country. That has to be earned on the field, and we aknoweledge that their schedule cannot compare to other major conferences. However, they did what they had to do against every team they faced, including the "good teams". They blew them off the field. No one came close with the exception of Oregon State who lost 30-21 and a good San Diego State team. They hammered Utah, Air Force, BYU, SMU and Baylor.

We look at games Wisconsin played against Arizona State, UNLV and San Jose to show that a team like TCU can play with the Badgers. We also note that their bog claim to fame this year was beating Ohio State, but at the same time, they came up short against Michigan State. Also note that their run down the stretch putting up big numbers didn't exactly come against teams with a defense to speak of. Purdue, Michigan, Indiana and Northwestern weren't exactly powerhouses this year. TCU would have destroyed them as well.

Lastly, we also love the motivational angle here. Both teams will be pumped, but for a program like TCU to be able to show it's stuff in the Rose Bowl, that's huge. Everyone remembers what happened when Boise State got it's big chance against Oklahoma a few years ago.

Wisconsin is much bigger. They'll be able to get that running game cranking. But where TCU lacks size, they make up for it with speed. When we break this down by the numbers, it comes up TCU. At first you might think schedule strength is the reason, but when you look at schedule strength using any of the major nationally known power ratings, Sagarin for example, you'll see that their schedule strength was basically the same. A very slight edge to Wisky.

Our score prediction model has TCU winning by a comfortable margin of 33-18. Other numbers we use also back up a play on TCU, although not by as wide of a margin. Overall we just think it's a good spot for TCU. Anytimes our numbers indicate a side and the motivational edge also line up on that side, it's a no brainers for us, we play.

We're going to play this one on the moneyline. If you're not comfortable doing so, we'd still play it at -3 or -2.5 with the half point buy. We would imagine that Wisconsin money will come in on game day bring this number down. So it's likely best to wait before you play.

3*  Key Release TCU PK -150 or Better



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