Oregon (10-2) vs. Ohio State (10-2)
Jan. 1, 4:30 p.m.
On the surface, the Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi looks like a classic “irresistible force meets immovable object” matchup.
Oregon’s rushing attack ranks sixth in the country with 236 yards per game, while Ohio State’s run defense ranks fifth, surrendering a scant 83.4 yards per contest.
So who buckles first?
And will the Big Ten finally break through after losing six consecutive BCS bowl games?
Ohio State, which will be making its first Rose Bowl appearance since its 1997 win over Arizona State, is 7-0 all-time against the Ducks, but the teams haven’t met since 1987. Oregon last played in the Granddaddy in 1995, when it lost to Penn State.
While the Ducks' spread-option against the Buckeyes stout front-seven will get top billing on the marquee, Oregon’s defense isn’t so bad -- the Ducks surrendered 329 yards per game, which ranks 32nd in the country -- and the Buckeyes run the ball well (199 yards per game).
It will be interesting to see how the Ducks' fast but undersized front-seven matches up with a Buckeyes line that struggled early but has improved during the latter portion of the season.
The quarterbacks, however, might end up deciding things. Oregon wanted hotshot recruit Terrelle Pryor badly in 2008 to run its spread-option, but Pryor chose Ohio State, and the Ducks ended up with a JC transfer named Jeremiah Masoli.
Masoli has become one of the nation’s best dual-threat quarterbacks, while Pryor has been inconsistent.
Will Masoli continue to roll or will Pryor break through?