Wisconsin believes its third straight trip to the Rose Bowl could be the charm. The Stanford football team is hoping for another victory in its charmed run through the Bowl Championship Series.
The unranked Badgers (8-5) and the No. 8 Cardinal (11-2) will meet in the 99th edition of the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, the bowl formally announced Sunday.
Arroyo Seco will be filled with fans wearing red and white when two schools with virtually identical colors play a rematch of the 2000 Rose Bowl, won 17-9 by Wisconsin with Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Ron Dayne.
That loss was Stanford’s most recent trip to the Granddaddy of Them All, while the Badgers lost the last two Rose Bowls to TCU and Oregon.
Although this matchup was highly unlikely just a few weeks ago, both teams’ coaches already seem certain that a collision between two big, powerful teams who disdain most of college football’s newfangled trickery could be a real throwback — with a perfect showcase in this tradition-soaked bowl.
“We’ve talked about how we admire how each other plays,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “This is probably going to be the first team for the both of us that’s almost like a mirror image. I think our guys are going to see things they go against in training camp. There’s going to be a little bit of a chess match as we go into this thing, but it’s going to be exciting to see something familiar on film.”
Stanford is in its third consecutive BCS bowl, a nearly unimaginable feat just six seasons ago when coach Jim Harbaugh took over the long-struggling program at a school with lofty academic standards and a fan base dwarfed by the conference’s big-name football schools.
“This has been our goal all along, throughout the year, through our highs and lows,” said Shaw, whose Cardinal earned the berth by beating UCLA on Friday in the Pac-12 Conference title game. “I think we’re going to have an exciting game. I think you’re going to hear a lot of mutual respect. I think we admire how each other plays.”
Wisconsin is no stranger to surprising occurrences after this weekend. The Badgers seemed highly unlikely to make their third straight Rose Bowl after a series of narrow losses, but they stunned Nebraska 70-31 on Saturday in the Big Ten Conference title game to earn yet another sun-splashed break from the Wisconsin winter for their hearty fan base.