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The big finish: Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez relishes Rose Bowl return against powerful Stanford

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    Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez talks to reporters during the Rose Bowl media day in Los Angeles, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Wisconsin will face Stanford in the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game on New Year's Day in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae Hong) (The Associated Press)

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    Stanford head coach David Shaw talks to reporters during the Rose Bowl media day in Los Angeles, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Stanford will face Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game on New Year's Day in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae Hong) (The Associated Press)

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    Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan looks to pass during practice in Carson, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Stanford will face Wisconsin on New Year's Day in the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae Hong) (The Associated Press)

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    Wisconsin running back Montee Ball listens to a question during the Rose Bowl media day in Los Angeles, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Wisconsin will face Stanford in the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game on New Year's Day in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae Hong) (The Associated Press)

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    Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov, right, shoves linebacker Joe Hemschoot during practice for the Rose Bowl in Carson, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Stanford will face Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game on New Year's Day in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae Hong) (The Associated Press)

Seven years after Barry Alvarez left the Wisconsin sideline, he's getting one more shot at the Rose Bowl.

The longtime Badgers coach says he can't provide any master game plan to beat No. 8 Stanford (11-2) in Wisconsin's third straight trip to Pasadena.

Instead, Alvarez's players say he offers perspective, inspiration and even a little swagger while he bridges Wisconsin's one-game gap between Bret Bielema and Gary Andersen.

The Badgers (8-5) hope it's enough to knock off the favored Cardinal.

Alvarez built Wisconsin's long-mediocre program into a consistent winner, exactly what Stanford coach David Shaw is accomplishing in the Bay Area.

The Cardinal won the Pac-12 title to advance to their third straight BCS bowl, a once-unthinkable feat at the academic-minded school. Stanford hasn't won the Rose Bowl since 1972.

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