|Barry Alvarez said Curt Phillips has earned another start. (US Presswire)|
Even if freshman Joel Stave is cleared by doctors to play in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day, senior Curt Phillips will start at quarterback for Wisconsin against Stanford. Barry Alvarez made the announcement on Saturday before the team left for Pasadena.
"Curt won that championship game," Alvarez told reporters. "He's earned the right to start."
Which is a statement that's technically true, I guess. Phillips did start the Big Ten Championship Game against Nebraska, but his main duty was handing the ball off to Montee Ball, Melvin Gordon and James White. Each of the three running backs finished with more than 100 yards in the game. As a team, Wisconsin rushed for 539 yards against the Cornhuskers while Phillips threw only eight passes in the entire game.
Wisconsin went 2-2 in Phillips' starts after Stave broke his collarbone, and the Badgers rushed for an average of 551.5 yards per game in the two victories. Though it's not as if Phillips played poorly in the losses -- both of which came in overtime against Ohio State and Penn State -- as he threw for 345 yards, three touchdowns and only one interception.
As for Stave, Alvarez sais the team is still waiting for the doctors to clear him to play. But even if he is cleared, Phillips will get the start. But if Stave can play, both quarterbacks will see time against Stanford.
How much passing either quarterback will do will depend on how successful the rushing attack is against the Stanford defense.