Finally. After almost a month of being announced, the Wisconsin Badgers and South Carolina Gamecocks will face off on New Year’s Day in the Capital One Bowl in warm, sunny Orlando. You can find Capital One Bowl tickets here.
This is being billed (mainly by myself) as the “best non-BCS bowl game” of the bowl season. It also pits two of the top defenses in college football.
For South Carolina, they have what was supposed to be the top player in the nation in Jadeveon Clowney. Although he has underperformed greatly this season, the Badgers must still be aware of him. South Carolina’s defense ranks 20th against the run, giving up an average of 4.1 yards per carry. They have yet to see a rushing attack like the Badgers however.
Badgers quarterback Joel Stave must perform at a high level if Wisconsin wants a chance to win. They should have success through the air however as South Carolina gives up an average of 7.1 per pass play. But they have some ball hawkers on defense, intercepting opposing offenses 15 times this season. Although there are some holes in the run and pass defenses, this South Carolina team know when and how to buckle down. That’s part of the reason why they’ve only given up 20 points per game, 13th best in the country.
On the flip side, the Badgers defense is just as good, if not better. But they must stop the attack of quarterback Connor Shaw and running back Mike Davis. Shaw has only one pick this season and 21 touchdowns through the air as well as five on the ground. Davis has racked up 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.
The Badgers have to make sure they don’t have a repeat of the Penn State game when they go up against this offense. If they do it will end up being another long day for Gary Andersen and company.
This game is going to come down to what offense will make the right adjustments first. It’s tough going up against Steve Spurrier teams as they are one of the best making adjustments. I think what Wisconsin must do to win this game is control the clock with it’s running attack of Melvin Gordon and James White and Stave must be near perfect making smart decisions with the football.
It’s the Ol’ Ball Coach up against first-year Badgers coach Gary Andersen. What a treat we will be in for come New Year’s Day.