Outback Bowl; Game info, preview, prediction


I know this isn’t the football season we were hoping for or expecting. Yesterday was a bummer, but guess what?  Football season isn’t over yet, as the Badgers will be playing in a prestigious bowl versus a very prestigious team. I know the Ohio State loss was ugly (understatement of the year) but all we can look to now is the next one. And the next one will be a fun one.

What: The Outback Bowl

Who: The Auburn Tigers and Wisconsin Badgers

Where: Tampa Bay, Florida

When: 11:00 CT on New Year’s Day

Rankings: Wisconsin is ranked #17 in the AP poll and #18 in the College Football Playoff Standings. Auburn is #19 in both polls.

Record: Wisconsin is 10-3, while Auburn is 8-4

Common Opponents: Both teams played LSU. Auburn won 41-7, while Wisconsin lost 28-24. I wouldn’t make too much of that though. If we determined whose better by common opponents, Wisconsin is the best team in the country. Wisconsin>Bowling Green>Indiana>Missouri>Arkansas>Ole Miss>Alabama.

What’s at Stake: Despite yesterday’s embarrassment, a win against Auburn would somewhat salvage the season. It would give Wisconsin a bowl win for the first time in five years, not to mention a win versus an SEC team. This would be the first major statement of the Gary Andersen era. This game will probably also determine Andy Ludwig’s fate. Personally, I think he should get fired. But a big day from him and his offense may be enough to save his job.

More from Football

What to expect: Expect a shootout. This game may reach 80 total points. I don’t expect Auburn to even remotely contain Melvin Gordon. Auburn allows 150 rushing yards per game. And they have played nobody even remotely close to as good Melvin Gordon. On the flip side, this Badger’s defense will get eaten up. They can’t defend QB’s they can actually throw, as shown against Ohio State. Sammie Coates and Duke Williams will have at least 300 combined receiving yards against the Badger’s cringe worthy CB’s, Sojourn Shelton and Darius Hillary. This game will be fun to watch, with a lot of points.

 Key to a Badger victory:

-Limit explosive pass plays

-Open up the offensive playbook. Andy Ludwig doesn’t have a creative bone in his body.

-Melvin’s going to need to eat early and often. He’s going to need at least 275 yards to keep this game close

-No turnovers. That mean’s you Stave, Gordon, and Kenzel Doe

Key Players:

-Melvin Gordon: Nothing further needs to be said.

-Joel Stave: Can he make the big throw? Can he avoid turnovers?

-Ray Ball: If he starts, he needs to be much, much better than he was against Ohio State.

-Darius Hillary: He never turns his head and makes a play on the ball. Never. But what he need him to at least try to slow down Duke Williams or Sammie Coates if Wisconsin wants to have a shot.


I have to be honest here. If I wasn’t, how could you trust my analysis? This matchup favors Auburn in every way possible. Coates and Williams will destroy Shelton and Hillary in Devin Smith-esque fashion. If the Badger’s couldn’t even contain the legs of Jake Rudock, imagine what Nick Marshall will do to them. The Badgers defense is only successful against bad QB’s, and Marshall is the opposite. Melvin Gordon and the boys up front will keep it close, but Stave will fail to make the big throw.

Auburn wins 42-38

Next: 2015 Outback Bowl Wisconsin Badgers have Chance to Really Bounce Back vs. Auburn Tigers