Rose Bowl preview – Oregon vs. Wisconsin: Key matchups, odds, predictions

Justin Herbert, Oregon Ducks. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Justin Herbert, Oregon Ducks. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

The 2020 Rose Bowl will be played between the No. 6 Oregon Ducks and the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers. Here are some key matchups, odds and predictions.

One of the marquee games of the New Year’s Six this year in college football has to be the Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual. Though not part of the College Football Playoff this year, we have a terrific matchup between the No. 6 Oregon Ducks (11-2) and the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers (10-3).

Kickoff from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California will be at 5:00 p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. PT on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1. ESPN will have the national telecast and the available live stream can be found on WatchESPN.

Oregon enters play as a two-loss Pac-12 Champion. The Ducks defeated the Utah Utes in the Pac-12 Championship to earn their right to play for the Rose Bowl. A pair of losses to the Auburn Tigers and the Arizona State Sun Devils are what kept them out of the playoff, but Mario Cristobal’s team is the best group out on the West Coast this season. They’re a tough out for sure.

Wisconsin enters play as a three-loss, non-Power 5 champion. Because the Ohio State Buckeyes won the Big Ten title and earned their trip to the College Football Playoff, the Badgers were selected as the second-best Big Ten team to satisfy the Rose Bowl’s conference affiliation requirements. Two of Wisconsin’s three loses are to Ohio State, so it’s not a huge hit against them.

With a huge game for both programs on the line, here are some marquee matchups to look forward to on the gridiron, the associated betting odds for this high-profile bowl game and a pick for who is going to come out on top and smell the roses to start 2020 out on the right foot.

Key Matchups

Justin Herbert vs. Eric Burrell

The most notable player in this game will be Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. Herbert is likely to be a top-10 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He has a strong right arm, can move around to extend plays with his legs, but can be a tad inaccurate with the football. Look for Wisconsin free safety Eric Burrell to do his very best to contain the star signal-caller for the Ducks in the Rose Bowl.

Jonathan Taylor vs. Troy Dye

Jonathan Taylor is the best running back in college football. He has won the Doak Walker Award in the last two seasons for the Badgers. Taylor is the identity of this Wisconsin offense, as their smash-mouth style will look to punch the Ducks in the mouth. Looking to limit Taylor’s effectiveness will be outside linebacker Troy Dye of the Oregon defense.

Penei Sewell vs. Zack Baun

Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell just won the Outland Trophy for the best lineman in college football. He is the best player on Cristobal’s awesome offensive line and has been a huge reason Herbert has had as much success this season for the Ducks. Fortunately for Wisconsin, the Badgers have a great pass rusher in the form of Zack Baun to challenge the Oregon left tackle.


Entering play of the 2020 Rose Bowl, Wisconsin is laying 2.5 points on a neutral site to Oregon. The over/under for this game is 51 points. The associated moneylines for this bowl game are Wisconsin -140 and Oregon +120. All odds are courtesy of The Action Network.


Because of the offensive firepower of both schools, let’s side with the over in this one. We will see great play out of both Herbert and Taylor, as this one has the feel of it going down to the wire. Since we a better feel for what we’re going to get out of Taylor as opposed to Herbert, let’s take the Badgers to win and cover. Wisconsin wins the Rose Bowl by a late, fourth-quarter touchdown.

Pick: Wisconsin 30, Oregon 24

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