1. December 30th, 2017 vs Miami in the Orange Bowl
Wisconsin wins a third-straight bowl game and complete 13-1 season
Wisconsin had hopes of a College Football Playoff appearance as last year went along. Beating Michigan, a previous game on this list, kept the dream alive until the Badgers fell short against Ohio State for the Big Ten championship.
The Badgers may have missed out on a chance to play for a national championship, but their season was far from over. The potential to win a 13th game was something that has never been done before. Miami is a program rich with it’s own tradition and the Orange Bowl was at stake.
Wisconsin came out slow. The first quarter looked like every fan’s nightmare come true. Miami was known for having incredible athletes and it didn’t appear as though the Badgers could keep up. When the second quarter started the game flipped. Wisconsin won the period 21-0 and looked like a runaway train. Alex Hornibrook threw three touchdowns in the second quarter and looked as good as he ever had in his career.
Final score: Wisconsin 34, Miami 24
This game is number one on the list for many reasons. First, it’s the biggest bowl game the Badgers have won since the back-to-back Rose Bowls in the late 90’s. Second, it was a national stage for the Badgers to showcase their talent. There was concern about whether Wisconsin could compete with the bigger programs with better athletes. Those concerns have been put to rest after Hornibrook threw for four touchdown passes and won the MVP.
This Orange Bowl victory was so much more than just a big bowl win. It symbolizes that the Badgers are here to stay and it’s a milestone to cross off the list. They have taken the proper baby steps to national prominence. Now, after this win, heading into next year, the Badgers can focus solely on the College Football Playoff. It’s the only thing left to tackle.
Finally, this game showed the talent the Badgers truly have. The loss to Ohio State wasn’t just because they had better athletes. Beating Miami proved the athletes the Badgers bring in are good enough to compete with anybody.
Wisconsin has also been working on bringing in better athletes of their own.