Los Angeles Times
Rose Bowl officials are seeing red, but not because they’re angry.
Stanford’s victory over UCLA in the Pac-12 Conference championship game Friday ensured that the 99th Rose Bowl would be awash in hues of one color on New Year’s Day. That Wisconsin will be the other team contributing to the palette is somewhat of a surprise.
But the Badgers’ 70-31 victory over No. 14 Nebraska in Saturday’s Big Ten Conference title game puts them in Pasadena for the third consecutive season.
“There’s going to be a lot of red in this stadium,” Rose Bowl executive Kevin Ash said.
It was a similar scene in 2000, when Wisconsin defeated Stanford, 17-9, on New Year’s Day.
Though Wisconsin (8-5) will be the first five-loss team to play in the Rose Bowl, the game between No. 8-ranked Stanford (11-2) and the suddenly formidable-looking Badgers is probably more attractive than a repeat of a regular-season game.
That’s what fans, and organizers, would have been looking at if UCLA and Nebraska had won conference title games.
Bowl game officials typically loathe rematches of regular-season games, especially one that took place in the same stadium.
On Sept. 8, UCLA defeated Nebraska, 36-30, at the Rose Bowl.
Stanford eliminated the possibility of a repeat by defeating UCLA, 27-24, at Stanford Stadium.
“It’s the Granddaddy of them all,” Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor told the school’s website, “so we’re going to be ready.”
This will be Stanford’s 13th Rose Bowl appearance, its first since its 2000 loss to Wisconsin. The Cardinal is 5-6-1 in Rose Bowl games.
Attendance at Friday’s Pac-12 title game in Palo Alto, announced at 31,622, was embarrassingly low.
But Ash anticipates a strong Stanford presence in Pasadena on Jan. 1.
“There’s an excited group of Stanford alums that are going to want to see their team play again in the Rose Bowl,” he said.
Despite finishing behind Ohio State (12-0) and Penn State (8-4) in the Big Ten Leaders Division, Wisconsin is making its third-consecutive Rose Bowl appearance. Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible for bowl games because of NCAA sanctions.
Wisconsin is 4-0-1 against Stanford, its last victory coming when Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne rushed for 200 yards in the 2000 Rose Bowl.
Wisconsin is 3-5 in Rose Bowl games and has lost in each of the last two years.
In 2011, the Badgers lost to Texas Christian, 21-19. Last January, they lost to Oregon, 45-38.
Ash said he was not worried about Wisconsin fans’ appetite for a third consecutive trip to California.
“In our preliminary talks with Wisconsin, they feel very confident that they’re going to move all the tickets and support the game, “ Ash said. “They are a very passionate group and support the team well.
“I think they love being in Pasadena.”