Both the Wisconsin Badgers and Miami Hurricanes came up one game short of the College Football Playoff. But the Big Ten and ACC runners-up have gotten a respectable consolation prize at the Orange Bowl.
Miami Bowl History
The Hurricanes are back in a big boy bowl game for the first time since moving to the ACC. The ‘Canes haven’t played in a New Year’s Six/BCS bowl game since their last year in the Big East in 2003.
Miami won the Russell Athletic Bowl last season in Mark Richt’s first year on the job at his alma mater. That was the first bowl win for “The U” since 2006.
Wisconsin Bowl History
Wisconsin always seems to get a bad rap for not playing against much of a schedule. That said, the Badgers have won their last three bowl games, claiming the Outback Bowl, the Holiday Bowl and the Cotton Bowl.
A win in this game would give the Badgers their first-ever 13-win season and their best record in team history.
Why Miami Will Win the Orange Bowl
Miami has a knack for winning really close games, something that could come in handy in the Orange Bowl. For all of Malik Rosier’s warts, he led this team on several huge drives in the fourth quarters of games this year.
The Turnover Chain has become a tremendous icon in South Beach, and when this team starts recording takeaways, they seem to come in bunches. The Badgers don’t turn the ball over a ton, but Alex Hornibrook has a history of throwing picks in scores when the going gets tough.
Why Wisconsin Will Win the Orange Bowl
Wisconsin hasn’t played against many good teams this year, but the fact that it hung in there against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game is a good sign. The argument could be made that this indeed is one of the four best teams in America even though it was beaten by the Buckeyes.
Jonathan Taylor has a long way to go in his career, but for a first offering as a freshman, he’s set the bar incredibly high. He already has 1,847 yards and 13 touchdowns, and he’s going to have to be at the top of his game to win the Orange Bowl.
Orange Bowl Prediction
Taylor had a terrible game against Ohio State, running the ball just 15 times for 41 yards. That’s surely a huge concern for us.
Hornibrook was forced to throw the ball a career-high 40 times against Ohio State. He only went 19-for-40 for 229 yards with two interceptions. If he has to throw the ball that often again versus Miami, we’re going to be seeing a lot of that Turnover Chain on the sidelines.
Don’t discount the fact that the Hurricanes are at home in this game. They’ve got a bit of a cult following down in South Florida, and this crowd is going to be decidedly pro-Miami. That should be enough to take care of business against the Badgers.
Orange Bowl Pick: Miami 24, Wisconsin 21
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