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The Badgers are heading back to Pasadena!

Rose Bowl Game - Wisconsin v TCU Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Frozen Rose Blossom Photo by Bernd Thissen/picture alliance via Getty Images

An excellent first half in the B1G Championship game against No. 2 Ohio State (13-0 overall, 10-0 B1G) was enough for the Wisconsin Badgers to squeak into the 2020 Rose Bowl.

Now the No. 8 Badgers (10-3 overall, 7-3 B1G) will use the next 24 days to prepare for the Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks (11-2 overall, 8-1 Pac-12).

The Badgers belong in the Rose Bowl

While it feels like Wisconsin has backed in following a loss to the Buckeyes in Indianapolis, the Badgers have had several fortuitous routes to the Rose Bowl in the past several decades.

Consider the 1999 Rose Bowl that sent Wisconsin to Pasadena after finishing in a three way tie with Ohio State and Michigan. In that season, Ohio State beat Michigan who beat Wisconsin. Fortunately for the Badgers, Wisconsin did not play Ohio State, securing a three way tie at the top of the Big Ten. Further, the tiebreakers gave Wisconsin the nod since both OSU and Michigan were in the Rose Bowl more frequently.

This 1999 Rose Bowl team was dubbed “the worst team I can remember playing in the Rose Bowl” by Craig James. Barry Alvarez fired back after Wisconsin beat UCLA 38-31, “well, I know we’re at least the second worst team.”

The 99th Rose Bowl Game - Wisconsin v Stanford Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Fast forward to 2012 when Wisconsin became the first five-loss team to enter the Rose Bowl after Ohio State and Penn State were both ineligible for post season play. Wisconsin throttled Nebraska in Indianapolis to earn the B1G title, but it certainly backed into the championship game.

Fast forward again to 2019. Wisconsin played a terrible game on the road against a bowl-eligible Illinois team that only lead after a last-second field goal. That’s inexcusable, but the rest of Wisconsin’s season was excellent. It crushed contending teams like the Michigan Wolverines and the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and it held tough against the best team in the country.

The Badgers are a very good team that thrived in spite of a difficult B1G schedule, and it might actually be one of the best five teams in the country.

I think Penn State had an argument to go to the Rose Bowl. However, Penn State’s worthiness does not negate Wisconsin’s worthiness.

Quick Preview of Oregon

Oregon opened the season with a close 27-21 loss to the Auburn Tigers before ripping off nine consecutive wins. Then, it fell 31-28 to Arizona State in a stunner. Since then, Oregon finished the season with a win over Oregon State and then crushed then-No. 5 Utah in the Pac-12 Championship game.

Pac-12 Championship Game - Oregon v Utah Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Ducks are a very balanced team. Oregon’s QB Justin Herbert leads a top 25 offense, throwing for 3,333 yards, 32 touchdowns and only five interceptions. The Ducks average 36 points per game and 6.3 yards per play. On defense, Oregon allows 16.8 points per game and allows 4.7 yards per play. All of these team stats are at least top 25 in the country.

When Wisconsin has the ball

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When Oregon has the ball

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The worst ducks of all time

Here’s hoping I’m not stealing too much content from Ryan’s upcoming “why your mascot sucks” for the Oregon Duck. I give Ryan permission to run with these later this month.

Anyways, here are the worst ducks of all time, not including the fowl from Eugene.

  • Howard the Duck
  • Basket of ducks
  • The duck who likes grapes
  • The Aflac Duck

Gilbert Gottfried is a sensational voice-actor who was let go by Aflac in 2011 after some hurtful jokes on Twitter. Since then, the Aflac duck just hasn’t been the same.

  • The wild duck who I saw in a video doing something horrible.

It was so horrible it should be deleted from the internet forever. I’m scarred for life and have lost all respect for ducks. “Ducks will be ducks” is not a valid excuse.