Harrison Rose Thoughts: Adjustments the key

Posted Jan 1, 2013

Phil Harrison Rose Thoughts: Adjustments turned out to be the key

By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN

-And the poor Big Ten goes down again in an entertaining Rose Bowl. The much-maligned conference was in all three big games today and had opportunities, but couldn't make the plays needed at the end to make a statement. Today could be considered a microcosm of the league's struggles this season. It'll go back to the Midwest beaten, bruised, and deflated.

- Great job by Stanford in making the adjustments needed to stop the Wisconsin running attack cold in the second half. The Badgers looked to have all of the momentum heading into halftime as it pounded its way back in the game on both sides of the ball. In the second half though, the Cardinal came out and put its foot in the ground with a brawny attitude to match what it got from Wisconsin late in the first half.

- If you are a traditionalist, this game had to give you alligator skin. With all of the offense and fireworks showing at a college football stadium near you these days, this game's stamp was tough defense, a grinding running attack, and the sprinkle of the occasional play-action pass. The early Nineties were re-born tonight.

- How bad must Barry Alvarez feel? He stepped down off his AD chair to coach one more time and put his perfect 3-0 record in the Rose Bowl on the line. He is now 3-1, but probably feels worse for the seniors he tried to champion towards their first win in Pasadena out of three tries.

- What a great year for Stanford. You thought for all of the world that losing Andrew Luck would result in some rust showing in the iron for the Cardinal. Instead, David Shaw led his team to a Pac-12 Championship--and now Rose bowl win. The culture has been set and it'll likely continue next year.

- On that note, let's not forget that Stanford is probably still reeling from the bizarre ruling when Stepfan Taylor looked to score against Notre Dame to tie the game in OT. If that call goes the other way, and the Cardinal pull it out, we could be talking about Stanford's chances against Alabama on Monday night.

- You can't help but project into next year and think that Gary Andersen is inheriting a pretty good situation. He'll have a solid O-line coming back, James White at running back, a lot of parts from a solid defense coming back, and should be in decent shape at the quarterback position with Stave or Phillips (pending NCAA clearance). Bret Bielema had gone on record stating that 2013 had potential to be his best team in Madison before he defected to enemy territory. Well, now we'll see if Andersen reaps the rewards.

- It's great to play postgame quarterback, but why on Earth wasn't Montee Ball getting the rock on a fourth and goal from the ½ yard line in the first half? He may have been stopped anyway, but Ball gives you more power than the lighter and quicker James White. In the end, that stop may have given Stanford the victory and relegated Wisconsin to just a participant in the game.

- If you have never been to a Rose Bowl--go. The setting is like none-other. Just trust me on this one. Seriously. No joke. For real.