Among the various compelling characters of the 2012 Rose Bowl between the No. 6 Oregon Ducks and No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers is a player who wasn't even at his current school at this time last year. Badgers quarterback Russell Wilson has had quite a year in his one year with Wisconsin.
In 2010, the junior Wilson threw for 3,563 yards and 28 touchdowns for the North Carolina St. Wolfpack, leading them to a nine-win season and a victory over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl. He was a two-sport player, also playing in the Colorado Rockies' minor league system. Wilson graduated from NC State, but had one year of eligibility remaining. He decided to transfer to Wisconsin, and has been taking graduate courses in Madison.
"This is an unusual situation, especially for a program that prides itself on developing players throughout their careers, as we do here at Wisconsin," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema told the Associated Press in June. "However, this is a special situation and Russell is the type of player and person that fits very well with our team."
To say Wilson fit in very well with the Badgers is an understatement. He has a 191.6 passing efficiency rating that is second only to Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, and Wilson's 31-to-3 touchdown/interception ratio is the best in the country. Wilson has gone 139 straight passes without an interception, throwing 16 touchdowns during that span.
Wilson needs just 121 passing yards in the Rose Bowl to become the first Wisconsin passer ever to throw for 3,000 yards in a season. He was the MVP of the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game after throwing for 187 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Michigan State that secured Wisconsin their Rose Bowl berth.
The 2012 Rose Bowl Game will be played on Monday, January 2, 2012 in Pasadena. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. PST. The game will be televised by ESPN, with Brent Musberger, Kirk Herbstreit, and Erin Andrews on the call.