Badgers Capital One Bowl Matchup

Outback Bowl

Yes, the Wisconsin Badgers run of three straight Big Ten Championships is over. However, they will be playing in the most prestigious non-BCS Bowl, the Capital One Bowl, where they will be taking on the SEC East’s second place team this season, the South Carolina Gamecocks. I actually think this could be a good thing for the Badgers that they are playing in this bowl game instead of the Rose Bowl. We know where the Badgers stack up against the Pac-12. This will be a good chance for Wisconsin to see where they stack up against the powerhouses of the SEC, who are both big and fast.

At the same time though, Wisconsin got lucky when they drew South Carolina in this game. Out of all of the potential SEC teams that could play in this game this season, the Badgers have the best chance against South Carolina. I don’t believe Wisconsin could run with the team speed of Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Texas A&M or Alabama, and I also believe the Badgers would have problems defending the wacky offense of Missouri. There is nothing secretive about South Carolina’s offense. Steve Spurrier has always been known as a pass-happy coach, but this team has turned into a physical run, play-action pass team.

If Wisconsin wants to win this game, they are going to have to figure out where South Carolina’s all-world defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is at all times, and do what so many SEC opponents did all season to the Gamecocks- run away from him. Clowney figures to go top five in the NFL draft next year, possibly even number one overall. They are also going to have to get after South Carolina’s senior quarterback Conner Shaw. When Shaw is in there, the South Carolina offense hums along with ease. I say when because he has had to overcome several injuries this season to be on the field in this bowl game.

If South Carolina wants to win, they are going to have to protect Conner Shaw and keep him upright. As I said in the previous paragraph, Shaw has already been injured several times this season, so they need to make sure they protect him well. Jadeveon Clowney is going to have to figure out a way to be effective in this game if the Gamecocks want to win. He has been criticized this season for sitting out games and not playing as hard as he can most of the time do to “injury”. He has been accused of protecting his NFL future with the decisions he has made this season. He needs to have a big game to silence those critics. At the end of the day, I think South Carolina wins this one close, 24-20.

Badgers Likely To Play In Outback Bowl

Badgers Outback Bowl

On Saturday, the Wisconsin Badgers went into TCF Bank Stadium and beat the Minnesota Gophers 20-7, winning Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the 10th straight time. The win essentially puts Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, where they will play the third or fourth place SEC team. But which team will that be?  Who will play the Badgers in the Outback Bowl?

Auburn- As of right now the Auburn Tigers have the BCS National Championship game on their minds. Auburn, currently ranked sixth in the nation, has a showdown coming against Alabama this weekend. Winner will play in the SEC Championship game. If Alabama wins though, that will put Auburn as the third place SEC team after the SEC championship game between Missouri/South Carolina and Alabama. If they end up playing the Badgers, Wisconsin is going to have to figure out a way to stop the option read, something they have struggled with the last few years. Probably because Wisconsin is not one of the faster teams in America, and the option read is all about speed.

Alabama- Flip the Auburn-Alabama game around this weekend. If Auburn wins, that puts Alabama as the third place SEC team. Now, in order for Alabama to end up in the Outback Bowl, The SEC East champion, either South Carolina or Missouri, would have to beat Auburn in the SEC Championship game. If that happens, Alabama-Wisconsin would be a good old fashioned “line-em’-up-and-lets-see-who’s-still-standing-after-60 minutes” type of game.

Missouri- I would have never in a million years thought the Missouri Tigers would win the SEC East this season, especially after James Franklin’s injury. But here they are, in control of their own destiny. All they have to do is beat Johnny Football this weekend and they will play either Auburn or Alabama in the SEC championship game. If they were to lose though, that would set them up as the third place team, and possibly sets up a matchup with Wisconsin. This is highly unlikely though, as Auburn would have to lose to Alabama, and then be left out of the BCS for that to happen. Auburn is headed for a BCS game one way or the other.

South Carolina- The most likely scenario here is that Wisconsin will play South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. The Gamecocks have had a very up and down season, including several injuries to senior quarterback Conner Shaw. South Carolina is also the most beatable of the four teams Wisconsin might play in the Outback Bowl.

What Bowl Will The Wisconsin Badgers Get Invited To In 2013?

Badgers Bowl 2013

Right now the Wisconsin Badgers sit at 8-2, 5-1 in the Big Ten, and are the 22nd ranked team in America in the polls. They have long since secured a spot in a bowl game, and we do know it will be a good one as of this moment. But which one will it be?

Rose Bowl – The Badgers have won the last three Big Ten championships, and as a result have played in the Rose Bowl the last three years. However they are 0-3 when it comes to victories in the recent past. Three years ago they lost a close one to TCU, 21-19. Two years ago was the famous Russell Wilson mental mistake in the game’s final moments, and the Badgers lost to Oregon 45-38. Last year, they lost to Stanford 20-14. As of right now, it is highly unlikely they play in the Rose Bowl.

Ohio State sits in front of them in the Big Ten Leaders division and the Buckeyes haven’t lost yet this season, or during Urban Meyer’s time in Columbus for that matter. Since Ohio State already beat Wisconsin this season that essentially puts the Buckeyes two up in the loss column, so basically Ohio State would have to lose twice for the Badgers to make the Big Ten championship game. There is also the possibility that Ohio State could make the National championship game, therefore possibly make Wisconsin the next team up for the Rose Bowl. However Ohio State dropped another spot in the polls this week, making that scenario even more highly unlikely.

Capital One Bowl – This spot is reserved for the second place Big Ten team, unless the BCS selection committee determines that there are two Big Ten teams worthy of a spot in the BCS, and that will not happen this season unless Michigan State beats Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game. Now that is a possibility, but I do not see that one happening. I see Michigan State playing in this game yet again.

Outback Bowl/Gator Bowl – These games are reserved for the third and fourth place Big Ten teams. This is where I believe the Badgers will play, in one of these two games. I believe who plays in what game will be decided by the outcome of this weekend’s Badgers-Gophers game. The winner plays in the Outback Bowl, the loser plays in the Gator Bowl.

Who Can Defeat Ohio State In 2013?

Ohio State Football

The Ohio State Buckeyes began the season ranked number two in the polls, staring down a chance at the a national championship. Technically they have dropped a couple of spots in the polls, but they haven’t lost either. Now there might be a few team nationally who can beat the Buckeyes, Alabama, Oregon, and Florida State, just to name a few, but can anyone in the Big Ten beat Ohio State.

Let’s start with the Badgers. Before we go any further, let’s point out that the Badgers already had their shot at Ohio State, and they came up short. Since they are in the same division as Ohio State, they would not be able to play them in the Big Ten Championship game nor do I think Wisconsin will be able to overtake them. Northwestern is another team that already had their chance and came up 10 points short. With a 0-3 start to conference play, it is high unlikely the Wildcats make the Big Ten Championship game. Now for some teams who haven’t had a shot yet, or the Buckeyes could play in the Big Ten Championship game.

The toughest game left on the Buckeyes schedule is against Michigan. The Wolverines are coming off of a game against Indiana in which many Big Ten offensive records were broken. Bo Schembechler probably sat up in his grave and had a heart attack watching this game. The Wolverines defense scars the crap out of me, in a bad way. I do not think Michigan has what they need to beat the Buckeyes right now.

Nebraska Working Hard To Be A Threat In Big Ten

Then there are two more possibilities for teams Ohio State could play in the Big Ten Championship game. First up would be the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Nebraska is getting along barely right now, and they have already made a switch at the quarterback position this season. I do not see Nebraska beating Ohio State. In fact, I don’t even see them playing in the Big Ten Championship game.

Rather, I see Michigan State as Ohio State’s opponent in the Big Ten Championship game. This Michigan State defense is the one defense in the Big Ten who could stop Braxton Miller dead in his tracks. With the way Michigan State moves the ball on offense, running the ball and taking up large portions of time on their way to the end zone, I see the Spartans as the only team in the Big Ten who can take down the Buckeyes. The only question I have about Michigan State’s ability to beat Ohio State is America’s question, can the quarterback make enough plays. Right now the Spartans sit just 105th in the nation in passing yards per game. Can Conner Cook make enough plays to make a difference? We will see.

Joel Stave Rises Above The Job Of Handing Off The Ball

Badgers Joel StaveDespite yet another stellar year for the Wisconsin Badgers ground-corps, first-year starting quarterback Joel Stave has proven that he is worth more than just taking snaps and handing-off the football. James White and Melvin Gordon have earned themselves a ranking of 6th best in the country for the pair’s dynamic running-game behind Stave. Wisconsin’s ground-happy offense has been apparent since the Ron Dayne era, leading some to question the team’s ability to threaten through the air. And indeed, the Badgers are one of the most blitzed team’s in the nation, as only wide-receiver Jared Abbrederis is perceived as a threat on the outside.

Still, Stave has coerced more yards out of the lackluster wide-receiving corps than any quarterback in years. The senior has completed 60 passes midway through the season, good enough for over 1000 yards and eight touchdowns. His 63 percent completion rate is equally as impressive, considering opposing defenses can almost guarantee that the ball will go towards Abbrederis, who is the target on more than a-third of Stave’s attempts through the air.

The pair’s chemistry has been effective. Abbrederis and Stave were key components to the Badgers recent fourth-quarter drives against Arizona State and Ohio State, despite both ending in losing efforts. Stave hit four of six attempts against the Sun Devils with just over a minute remaining and the Badgers down two. A now infamous officiating debacle thwarted a game winning field goal that night, though Stave returned the next week in Columbus to pass for a career-high 295 yards on 20 completions.

Badgers Sit At Third Place In Big Ten Standings

Badgers StandingsDue to their loss on the road to Ohio State, the Badgers currently sit in third place in the Big Ten Leaders Division. Fortunately, they do have time to make up ground as it is only the second Saturday of October. Here is some more good news, the team the Badgers play this Saturday, Northwestern, will be their toughest opponent for the rest of the season. Sounds great, right? Well, now for some bad news. Northwestern is a program that has been getting better and better each year, and one of these years, they are going to put themselves into the Big Ten Championship game, and this might be the season they do it. Yes, they lost to Ohio State (who doesn’t these days?), but, unlike Wisconsin, they are not in the same division as Ohio State, so therefore they are still in control of their own destiny.

How will Northwestern’s defense stop the vaunted Badger’s running game? Northwestern is one of the most technically sound teams in America. This is expected though, as these are smart students, and because of the high expectations academically, they can’t get the high end recruits, so they have to be sound. Here’s the bad part for Northwestern, they aren’t very big, and when you’re not very big, especially along the defensive front, you can be worn down as the game progresses. The Badgers are the undisputed kings of wearing down opposing front sevens as the game progresses. This may lead many to believe Melvin Gordon is due for a field day. I don’t think that may necessarily be the case though. I think the Wildcats may have a surprise or two for Wisconsin to stop the Badgers running game. Now I am not saying they are going to stop the Badgers running game dead in it’s tracks, but they won’t get run over either.

The one area where Northwestern has a major advantage is at the quarterback position. Yes, the Wildcats use two of them, but they are strong at the position. Kain Colter is the running quarterback and Trevor Siemian is the passer. If Northwestern is going to win this game, these two are going to have to play great.

This one is close, really close, and because of that, I can’t pick a final score. Expect one of the best football games you will ever watch to be played this Saturday between these two.

Badgers Football Update 2013 | Will Bucky Bounce Back?

Bucky Badger

Well, there you have it. One month of the college football season is already in the books and quite frankly, the season hasn’t been kind to the Big Ten outside in out of conference play. Wisconsin went to ArizonaState in week three and lost 32-30 on a controversial late call. Nebraska almost lost to Wyoming in week one. Michigan needed a late comeback to beat winless Connecticut in week four.  That brings us to Big Ten conference play.

Ohio State is doing exactly what everyone thought they would. They beat Wisconsin 31-21 last week and are the clear cut favorites to win the Big Ten Championship. Urban Meyer has done a great job of restoring order to the OhioState football program in a hurry. The Buckeyes even have a potential date with Clemson, Alabama, or Oregon in the very last BCS National Championship game in January on their minds.

The Badgers meanwhile might as well forget about their dreams of a fourth consecutive Big Ten Championship. They are in the same division as OhioState, and with the loss to OhioState on Saturday, the Badgers would need the Buckeyes to lose twice in order to get back into the Big Ten Championship game. I don’t see OhioState losing twice. However another trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl isn’t out of the question. If OhioState runs the table and finishes in the top two of the BCS, the Big Ten’s spot in the Rose Bowl is up for grabs. Wisconsin still has plenty of time to position themselves to grab it.

Big Ten Standings And Division Leaders

While the Big Ten Leaders Division is all but over, the Big Ten Legends Division is a mess. The only team in the division that I don’t think has a legitimate chance to win the division is Minnesota. Other than that, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, and even Iowa could make a case, although Iowa winning the division is highly unlikely. Nebraska looks like an accident waiting to happen and MichiganState just simply doesn’t have enough offense, so that leaves the other two. I think this is finally the year where Northwestern gets over that last hump and gets to the Big Ten Championship game.