TCU Horned Frogs (12-0)
How They Got Here: As the highest ranking champion of a non-automatically qualifying conference — No. 3 in the final BCS standings and champions of the Mountain West Conference — the TCU Hored Frogs were awarded an automatic at-large bid to a BCS Bowl.
Because of a new clause in the selection process for the five BCS bowls, TCU was awarded a bid in the Rose Bowl after the “Granddaddy of them All” lost its traditional Pac-10 conference champion, Oregon, to the BCS National Championship Game.
TCU’s 2010 Season: The Horned Frogs started the 2010 season playing second fiddle to Boise State as the non-BCS conference darling of the year. But after starting the season with victories over Oregon State and Baylor, the Horned Frogs cruised through most of their 2010 schedule and after Boise State faltered late against Nevada, TCU was left atop the ranks of the non-BCS conference schools.
Led by quarterback Andy Dalton, the Frogs spent most of their 2010 season looking forward to a meeting with an undefeated Utah Utes squad in Salt Lake City, but that meeting turned into a blowout victory for the Frogs, all but assuring them of an MWC crown.
TCU’s truest test actually came the very next week, as the Frogs struggled to stay ahead of San Diego State, finally prevailing 40-35 before finishing the season against New Mexico with an easy 66-17 victory.
Wisconsin Badgers (11-1)
How They Got Here: Wisconsin finished in a three-way tie for the Big Ten conference title, and won the conference on the strength of their finish in the BCS standings. Wisconsin’s No. 5 finish in the BCS was higher than that of Ohio State’s (No. 6) and Michigan State’s (No. 9) and gave the Badgers the automatic bid to the Rose Bowl despite the fact that all three teams finished 11-1 and 7-1 in conference.
Wisconsin’s 2010 Season: After stating the season with victories against out-of-conference opponents from around the country, Wisconsin dropped its first Big Ten conference game against Michigan State in East Lansing.
But from that point on, the Badgers could be considered one of the nation’s hottest teams, running off seven straight victories including an upset victory over Ohio State when the Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 in the country.
The Badgers ended the season with huge offensive output against its final three opponents — scoring a total of 201 points in their final three games against Indiana, Michigan and Northwestern.
Matchup to Watch: Both teams have 520 points on the season, but TCU’s defense is among the most vaunted in the country.
How will Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien and his stable of running backs — James White (1,029 yards rushing), John Clay (938) and Montee Ball (864) respond to the threat of a strong TCU defense?
And will Dalton and a tremendous core of receivers be able to take control of the game against the Badger defense?
BCS Know How Prediction: Wisconsin’s 201 points in its last few games were an incredible feat, but also sent some negative media coverage the way of Madison. Will the nearly five-week break have a restorative effect on two rough and tough teams or will either be rusty?
TCU 31 vs. Wisconsin 20