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BCS-busting TCU to face Wisconsin in Rose Bowl
PASADENA, CALIF. (AP) - For the second straight year, TCU is unbeaten, untied _ and unable to play for the national championship.
At least the Horned Frogs are getting the granddaddy of all consolation prizes.
No. 3 TCU (12-0) is headed to its first Rose Bowl for a showdown with fourth-ranked Wisconsin (11-1), both schools learned Sunday night while celebrating remarkable seasons.
TCU is busting the BCS for the second straight season, following last year’s loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. The Frogs held out hope of a title shot until Saturday, but higher-profile unbeatens Auburn and Oregon won their final regular-season games to stay in front.
Yet nobody at Daniel Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth seemed even slightly bummed while the Frogs’ band, cheerleaders and about 2,500 fans heralded the first team from outside the power conferences to reach back-to-back BCS bowls.
“It would have been fun to see what would have happened if one of the teams went down, but that’s not how it happened,” said TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, a 41-game winner as a starter. “There’s two great teams playing in the national championship game. … We’ll go out and prove how we play, and hopefully people will see that.”
Big Ten co-champion Wisconsin is headed back to Pasadena for the first time since the 1999 season, when Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Ron Dayne led the Badgers past Stanford on Jan. 1, 2000. Wisconsin held off fellow one-loss co-champions Ohio State and Michigan State in the BCS standings, and its powerful offense is sure to be the stiffest challenge faced by TCU’s NCAA-leading defense.
“I haven’t seen much film (of TCU) at this point, because I didn’t want to jinx ourselves,” Badgers coach Bret Bielema said. “I didn’t want to believe in anything until it was real. … We’ve put ourselves in a good opportunity to play in this game, and I know we’ll represent the conference well.”
The Frogs have embraced their destiny since wrapping up a perfect regular season in Albuquerque with a 66-17 thrashing of New Mexico last week. The school handed out red long-stemmed roses on the sideline while formalizing the Frogs’ second straight Mountain West Conference title.
“Knowing I’m going to get a chance to stand on that field is truly an honor,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said.
TCU is in the midst of an incredible renaissance under Patterson, with 25 consecutive regular-season wins and 38 of 41 overall. The only losses in that span were to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl, at Oklahoma and at Utah.
Yet TCU is well aware of the heartbreak faced by teams outside the six BCS conferences. That’s just one reason the Frogs have decided to join the system instead of fighting it by accepting admission in 2012 to the Big East, which is sending 8-4 Connecticut to the Fiesta Bowl.
TCU even faced the possibility of missing out on the BCS games entirely, but Boise State’s overtime loss late last month to Nevada cleared the Frogs’ path to Pasadena.
For the fifth time in 10 years, the Rose Bowl won’t feature a Big Ten team against a Pac-10 team. That hallowed intersectional tradition was tossed with the advent of the BCS, although the Rose Bowl still strives to match up teams from its favored conferences.
Many fans from Madison to California hoped Stanford could slide in to keep alive that intersectional vibe, but TCU got the bid under a new rule requiring the Rose Bowl to pick an eligible team from a league without an automatic BCS spot once every four years if a Pac-10 or Big Ten team is in the national title game.
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