The last time the Wisconsin Badgers were victorious in Pasadena, California was in the 2000 Rose Bowl game. Barry Alvarez was head coach of the Wisconsin football team at the time when the Badgers (9-2, 7-1 Big Ten) prevailed over Stanford (8-3) 17-9.
Through the first 7 games of the 1999-2000 Wisconsin football season, the Badgers found themselves (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) with a dominant rushing attack and an inconsistent passing game. The teams 2 losses came during a 12-17 non-conference game against Cincinnati and a 16-21 defeat against Michigan.
Wisconsin football at the time was a ground and pound rushing offense led by the “Great Dayne.” The backfield through the first 7 games had totaled 1,913 yards (273 yards per game), where 1,049 of those yards came from the feet of Ron Dayne who was averaging 149.8 yards per game. Through those 7 games, Dayne had totaled 13 touchdowns behind a offense that was averaging 35.4 points a game, while the defense was only allowing 13.1 points a game. The sub-par passing attack consisted of quarterbacks Scott Kavanagh and Brooks Bollinger who collectively were completing only 54-percent of their passes and threw for just 5 touchdowns. Entering their eighth game of the season, the Badgers were ranked No.17 in the country.
The now-No.24 Wisconsin Badgers (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) seem to have found themselves with a similar start to their season. Their 2 loses, similar to the 1999-2000 season came in a non-conference game against Arizona State and Big Ten rival Ohio State. Additionally, the offense has been putting up 39.9 points while giving up just 15.9 points per game.
A ground and pound rushing attack has always been the staple of Wisconsin football. The Badgers have accumulated a total of 2,078 yards rushing, leaving them ranked No.8 in the country averaging 296.9 yards a game. Melvin Gordon has looked unstoppable averaging 144.6 yards with 11 touchdowns. Unlike the “Dayne Train”, Gordon is accompanied by the talented James White who has rushed for 672 yards. Ron Dayne and the Badgers current backfield have complete different styles of rushing where Dayne had accumulated 175 attempts through 7 games while Melvin Gordon has accomplished 1,012 yards on only 107 attempts.
The passing attack led by Joel Stave is completing 63.5-percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,486 yards. Jared Abbrederis has accounted for 752 of those yards and 5 of Stave’s 13 touchdowns.
Although Rose Bowl hopes for the Badgers may be a long-shot. Looking at the glass as half-full instead of half empty, Wisconsin football is still a strong contender for a BCS Bowl bid.