Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Bowl Season Upon Us; Badgers Continue Prep for South Carolina

The battle of  No. 9 South Carolina (10-2, 6-2 SEC) and the 19th ranked Wisconsin Badgers (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten) takes center-stage again shortly as Bowl Season ramps up on the collegiate level this week.

January 1 will be a busy college football day for fans looking to sober up with some gridiron action.

Wisconsin vs South Carolina in the “Capital One Bowl” is one of six games on the docket that day. For national pundits who aren’t affiliated, it’s probably one of the sexier ones, too.

Being played in what should be a sunny Orlando, Flor. sunshine at the Citrus Bowl, plan on Wisconsin to travel well.

Some of the storylines we’ll be following are UW’s committment they got from running back Melvin Gordon III this week. It puts any speculation behind UW’s fans and coaches as to whether or not their backfield will have a 1,000 yard rusher in it next season.

Even with the likes of Corey Clement (Fr.) and Vonte Jackson (RS, Fr.) possibly solidifying the spot for three-to-four years to come, it’s a load off the back of coach Gary Andersen who wants to end the season on a winning note.

Let’s not forget the likes of James White (209, 1337 yds, 13 TD’s) and Jared Abbrederis (73 rec., 1051 yds, 7 TD’s) who’ll be making their final start of the college career. Both will likely be serviceable talents at the pro-level, but not before taking one last shot with their teammates at collegiate glory.

Overall, the Badgers stumbled in the final week of the regular season, likely losing a spot in the BCS Sugar Bowl, Jan. 2, when falling at home to Big Ten rival, Penn State (31-24).

Water under the bridge though as a formidable opponent in the No. 9 ranked Gamecocks, coached by Steve Spurrier, wait next.

Statistically speaking, Wisconsin holds an edge in just about every offensive category.

Sophomore QB Joel Stave (199-323, 2414 yds, 20 TD’s) will be a focal point offensively after a poor showing against Penn State. He’ll be opposite South Carolina’s Connor Shaw (158-259, 2135 yds, 21 TD’s) who’s ability to throw well from the pocket has been noted.

Defensively, it was hard to watch UW’s last performance as it fell significantly short of what we’ve come to expect out of and Andersen-coach team – confused, un-prepared and scrambling to make a play.

The youthful tendancies of Wisconsin’s defensive backfield glared, and will be an area they’ll need addressed come 2014. Especially the cover two play of safety Tanner McCevoy who was obviously exposed in the 339 yard day through the air passing from Penn State.

Chris Borland’s had plenty of time to he’ll his ailing hamstring and should be 100 percent. The Wisconsin linebacker is fighting for one more win, but more importantly for the first-round pick and guaranteed money at the NFL level.

Tags: Badgers Capital One Bowl Chris Borland Connor Shaw James White Jared Abbrederis Melvin Gordon III South Carolina Wisconsin Football

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