David Shaw and Bret Bielema sidled up to each other in a Texas hotel last year at an awards banquet and struck up a conversation about how much each coach admired the other's football program.
Perhaps it's no surprise that Shaw, the Stanford coach, and Bielema, the Wisconsin coach, hit it off. The similarities in their styles of play are obvious: Two pro-style offenses with hard-nosed defenses that grind out victories with regularity.
So when Wisconsin (8-5) won the Big Ten championship Saturday night to earn a spot in the Rose Bowl against Pac-12 champion Stanford (11-2), both coaches were delighted about the prospects of facing one another.
"This is going to be probably the first team really for both of us that it's almost kind of like a mirror image," Shaw said Sunday night on a Rose Bowl teleconference.
The similarities in personnel and success are eerie.
Wisconsin ranks No. 13 nationally in total defense (320.9 yards per game), while Stanford is No. 21 (33...