Behind Enemy Lines: Oregon Sports Writers Assess Rose Bowl Matchup

Wisconsin and Oregon are preparing to face off in the Rose Bowl game on Jan. 2. As the big game nears, we’re taking a look at what sports writers in Oregon are saying about the matchup between the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions.

At, Rick Chandler gives his first impressions of Oregon’s Rose Bowl uniforms, which he says seem like they could be costumes in the upcoming Batman movie, “Dark Knight Rises.”

George Schroeder, a columnist at the Register-Guard, writes that for even some of the most diehard Ducks fans, there seems to be a dampened enthusiasm for the Rose Bowl game. He says that, “The Ducks have been so good, they’ve raised expectations so high, suddenly a trip to Pasadena seems like settling.”

Also at the Register-Guard, Adam Jude writes that Wisconsin’s large (“beefy”) offensive lineman will test Oregon’s defensive line, which isn’t known for its girth. Jude says the Ducks see Wisconsin as posing a similar challenge to taking on Stanford’s O-line, and Oregon is up for the challenge.

In another Register-Guard piece, Jude writes that “history’s on neither side in Pasadena,” recalling matchups in 2000 and 2001 in which Oregon and Wisconsin traded nail-biting wins.

Bob Moseley, of the Register-Guard, says the Ducks under third-year coach Chip Kelly have become known as a team that struggles after a long layoff. Although Oregon is the only team in the country to play in the Bowl Championship Series each of the last three seasons, it went 0-2 in those games. Moseley writes that Oregon isn’t altering how it prepares for a long layoff despite a track record of struggling early in big games.

At, sports blogger Alex Drude points out that the last time the Oregon Ducks won the Rose Bowl was on Jan. 1, 1917. To put that in perspective, he gives a list of historical information from that date, noting that the U.S. would not enter World War I for three more months; the NFL did not exit; and John F. Kennedy had not been born (May 29, 1917), among other tidbits.

In another sports blog post, Joe Leadingham gives his early take on the Wisconsin-Oregon matchup. He says he’s looking forward to watching it more than any other game except for the national championship because both Oregon and Wisconsin score more than 40 points a game and exemplify contrasting styles of play from two legendary conferences.

In The Oregonian, Lindsay Schnell writes that, like Oregon, the Badgers “have risen from college football’s middle class to its elite in the past two decades.” As part of a Rose Bowl preview, Schnell takes a look back at some of the memorable seasons in Wisconsin football history.

Paul Buker writes in The Oregonian about the ways Oregon can exploit Wisconsin weaknesses in the Rose Bowl.

Ken Goe writes in The Oregonian that with the Ducks 0-2 in BCS games under UO coach Chip Kelly, it’s time for Kelly to win a big postseason game.

Also in The Oregonian, Lindsay Schnell wrote a story about how the Rose Bowl trip is extra special for UO running backs coach Gary Campbell’s son, Bryan, who has been disabled since birth.

Over at The Register-Guard, Rob Moseley writes that collaboration has been key for Oregon’s defense under long-time defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti. He says Aliotti thrives on input from his assistants.

Which Team Has The Edge?

The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress has collaborated with the Wisconsin State Journal’s Tom Mulhern to break down position-by-position matchups in advance of the Rose Bowl between Oregon and Wisconsin on Jan. 2.

On the matchup of Wisconsin receivers vs. Oregon defensive backs, Fentress calls it an even matchup, saying “Oregon’s secondary has been picked on for giving up plays but it has faced at least three future NFL quarterbacks.”

On the matchup of Oregon receivers vs. Wisconsin defensive backs, Fentress gives the edge to Oregon.

On the matchup of speed vs. size, Fentress gives the edge to Oregon, saying the Ducks’ overall team speed has looked rather ordinary against elite competition over the past few seasons, “but the Badgers don’t fall in that category.”

As for the Wisconsin offensive line vs. Oregon defensive line, Fentress gives the edge to Wisconsin.

And when judging the matchup of the Oregon offensive line vs. the Wisconsin defensive line, Fentress gives the edge to Oregon.

On the matchup of Wisconsin running backs vs. Oregon linebackers, Fentress gives the edge to Wisconsin.

When considering the return game for Wisconsin and Oregon, Fentress gives the edge to Oregon, saying the Ducks’ attention to detail in their return and kicking game has resulted in success.

As for the matchup on kicking and punting, Fentress gives the edge to Wisconsin, saying issues in the kicking game could haunt Oregon in another close game.

Also in The Oregonian, Fentress lists some weaknesses Oregon must address to beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.