Wisconsin, Oregon Governors Bet State Products on Rose Bowl

Monday, 02 Jan 2012 09:56 AM

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Putting most other bets aside, one sure wager you can make on the Rose Bowl game tonight in Pasadena, Calif.: One of the two teams who lost the past two Rose Bowls will emerge as a winner this time.

The governors of Wisconsin and Oregon, however, aren’t putting all bets aside in the war for the Roses. They are putting their states’ products on the line as the University of Wisconsin Badgers take the field against the University of Oregon Ducks. Which victor gets the spoils depends on how the Badgers, traveling to Pasadena for the second year after losing to TCU last year, and the Ducks, who lost their Rose Bowl contest to Ohio State in 2010, fare against each other tonight.

BTW, for the record, the Badgers have been in the Rose Bowl eight times before, and have three wins under their helmets. The Ducks, meanwhile, have been in five previous Rose Bowls, winning just once.

A lot is at stake for the coaches of the teams, both of which carry 11-2 records into the game and have nearly mirror win-loss records for the past three years, according to the La Crosse Tribune in the Badger State. The Badgers’ Bret Bielema and the Ducks’ Chip Kelly look to critics who grumble despite their teams’ successes, the Tribune reports.

The Tribune notes the coaches’ similarities: “They are aggressive, think-outside-the-box, promoter types who coach two of the country’s hottest teams. Each one took over a very good program and moved it to a higher level.”

So the 98th Rose Bowl boils down to a matter of bragging rights for both coaches and both governors: on a professional level for the coaches and on a state pride issue for the governors.

Toss in politics, if you’d like: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a Republican, and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat.

Walker, a first-term governor putting aside recall rumblings against him back home to concentrate on play calling tonight, is promising a Badger win. In the case of a loss, however, he will send Kitzhaber these goodies: Leinenkugel's beer, Wisconsin cheese, a package of Andes mints produced in Walker's hometown of Delevan, and a bottle of blushing rose wine from Wollerscheim Winery in Prairie du Sac.

If the Ducks quack, third-term Gov. Kitzhaber will cough up a similar list of Oregon products, including craft beers, kettle chips, hazelnuts, and smoked king salmon.

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