The Stanford Cardinal are the favorites of almost all college football experts in advance of their 2013 Rose Bowl clash with the Wisconsin Badgers January 1 in Pasadena. Stanford (11-2, 8-1) comes into the Rose Bowl on a seven-game winning streak, capped with a victory over then-undefeated Oregon and back-to-back wins over UCLA to take the Pac-12 Championship. Running back Stepfan Taylor, playing in his last game at Stanford, has run for 1,442 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, and ranks 20th nationally with 110.9 rushing yards per game. The Cardinal field one of the nation's best defenses, a unit which has allowed just 17.5 points per game and held every opponent under 25 points since October 7.
Wisconsin is playing its first game without departed head coach Bret Bielema, who has accepted the head coaching position at Arkansas. Former head coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez will coach the team in Pasadena. Despite a 4-4 record in Big Ten play, the unranked Badgers received a berth in the league's championship game due to postseason bans in place at Ohio State and Penn State. Wisconsin then defeated Nebraska 70-31 to win their third consecutive trip to Pasadena. The Badgers have the lowest winning percentage of a Rose Bowl participant since 1950.
All six CBS Sports college football experts select Stanford to win the Rose Bowl, and five of six expect the Cardinal to cover the 6.5-point spread. Yahoo's Pat Forde and Graham Watson also both select Stanford to win. ESPN fantasy college football analyst Will Harris goes contrary to popular opinion, picking Wisconsin to win by a point, 14-13 but placing little confidence in that prediction.