Thursday, December 30, 2010
Badgers tab Frogs as prince of a matchup
By Jeff Caplan
LOS ANGELES -- The days of the big conference teams needing anti-depressants just to get through a BCS game against an -- are-you-kidding-me? -- non-AQ school are history.
We've seen it before, most notably a few years ago when Utah rammed it down the supposedly deflated egos of the powerful Alabama Crimson Tide.
The No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers, co-champions of the Big Ten, will not enter Saturday's Rose Bowl disappointed they're not playing the Pac-10 champion Oregon Ducks or even runner-up Stanford Cardinal as part of the historic tie-in for the New Year's Day game.
They say they can't since they won't even enter the Rose Bowl as the oddsmakers' favorite to win.
"I think we know what we have at stake and we understand the bigger picture," Wisconsin senior tight end Lance Kendricks said. "Although it’s a non-AQ team, they have the No. 1 defense in the country and they have good players...[They're] just a little smaller [size-wise], but obviously more athletic and just faster. But, I think the scheme they run is just not anything we've seen before."
Likewise, the 6-foot-4, 241-pound Kendricks is likely not anything the Frogs have seen before. The All-American finished fourth in the country if receiving yards by a tight end (627) and he averaged 16.1 yards a catch this season.
TCU is the nation's No. 1 ranked overall defense and it is also No. 1 in passing yards allowed (126.3). The Frogs are the only team in the nation to hold all but one opponent under 200 yards in passing and consider that 89 of the 120 FBS (Division I-A) teams currently allow an average of 200 or more yards passing a game.
"What better challenge can you have than to face the No. 1 team defensively?" Kendricks said. "For us, we've taken on challenges all year and we've been pretty successful at it."