The Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis will be seeing mass amounts of red come Dec. 1, 2012.
Nebraska secured its first ever trip to the coveted game in just the second year of its existence and just the second year of their involvement in the conference and will face off against the defending Big Ten Champs, Wisconsin.
The Cornhuskers took down the Iowa Hawkeyes in an ugly game that produced just over 450 yards and four turnovers between the two teams combined. Neither James Vandenberg nor Taylor Martinez impressed, both throwing for less than 100 yards each and just 19 completions combined.
The Badgers and Cornhuskers will meet for the second time this season after the first matchup went in Nebraska’s favor with a comeback win at home.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Cornhuskers went into Iowa City and handed the Hawkeyes their sixth straight conference loss after beginning Big Ten play 2-0.
Although Wisconsin is the defending conference champ, they will be the underdog going into Saturday’s game against Nebraska.
Nebraska has just one conference loss this season and have not lost a game in front of their home fans either while the Badgers have lost two home games and three conference games– one against these same Cornhuskers.
The Wisconsin offense is not what they were last season, relying on the run to keep them afloat. They rank near the bottom of college teams in passing yards per game and in the middle of the country in points per game. What will keep this team in the game against the dangerous Huskers? The defense is one of the best in the conference, allowing just 17 points per game– good for 14th in the country.
The Cornhuskers, on the other hand, display a potent offensive attack that has blasted through conference play. They rank eighth in the country in rush yards and 22nd in points per game.
This team is as potent as they come and with Taylor Martinez at the helm, they could break a big play with their option attack with Ameer Abdullah and Rex Burkhead as the featured backs.
Another reason why Nebraska will win and make their first Rose Bowl since joining the Big Ten, their first since 2002 and their second ever appearance in the game, is the fact that Wisconsin will be playing with an inexperienced quarterback. Curt Phillips is a fifth-year senior and has thrown just 44 career passes for the Badgers.
He has started the last two games for Wisconsin because of the injury to freshman Joel Stave that will sideline him for the remainder of the season. The coaching staff wasn’t comfortable with backup quarterback Danny O’Brien starting because of a rough start to the season for the junior transfer.
The Cornhuskers will look to win their first conference championship as a member of the Big Ten and by doing so, it will put them in position to win the Rose Bowl for the first time in school history. Heck of a game coming up Saturday for both teams.
Projection: Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 34