The Capital One Orange Bowl Features No. 6 Wisconsin Vs. No. 10 Miami At Hark Rock Stadium
The Miami Hurricanes will square off against the Wisconsin Badgers December 30, at 8 pm on ESPN. Both teams are built similarly due to good coaching, strong defenses, and reliable running games with inconsistent quarterback play. Also, both teams have their share of significant injuries.
The Canes and Badgers were in the running for their respective conference championships and a playoff spot, until the last week of the regular season. This heavyweight matchup will all but define these team’s seasons.
Great Head Coaching Matchup
The Orange Bowl will feature Miami head coach Mark Richt and Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst. Both of these coaches have done phenomenal jobs with these programs over the past two seasons. Richt and Chryst are former college quarterbacks, coaching for their respective Alma Maters, with programs featuring Pro-Style Offenses.
Richt, in his second year at Miami, is 19-6 with the Canes and 164-57 overall. Under Richt’s guidance this season, Miami won their first ACC Coastal Title earning a trip to their first ACC Championship game. Also, Richt won the ACC’s Coach of the year this season.
Chryst, in his third year at Wisconsin, has a 33-7 record with the Badgers, and a 52-26 overall record, going 3-1 in bowl games. Over the past two seasons, Chryst has won two Big Ten West Championships winning Big Ten Coach of the year in both seasons as well.
Not Enough Hype?
Miami and Wisconsin were viewed as overrated for much of the season. When the initial College Football Playoff Rankings came out in week ten, Wisconsin was ranked ninth and Miami tenth. The Canes and Badgers were undefeated with six one-loss teams ahead of them.
Miami did make their way up to number two thanks to wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame in primetime. But Miami ended their regular season with two losses, one at Pitt and a 38-3 loss in the ACC Championship game.
Wisconsin was undefeated all the way up to the Big Ten Championship Game and never cracked the top four. Some thought the Badgers could have been left out even if they won the Big Ten. That would’ve been an interesting scenario had it played out.
Both teams will look to solidify their season with a win in the Orange Bowl.
Does The Turnover Chain Have One More Run?
Miami’s Turnover Chain took on a life of its own during the 2017 season. The 36-inch, 5.5 pound, 10-karat gold Cuban link necklace with a large “U” charm covered with orange and green sapphires debuted against Bethune-Cookman. ESPN described the chain as “quintessential Miami: flashy, swaggy, in your face, loud and flamboyant.”
The best part, it worked. Miami is second in the nation and first out of Power-Five conferences with 30 turnovers, averaging 2.5 per contest. At one point during the season, the Canes had four consecutive games with four turnovers.
But is the magic gone? Over the past two games (losses) Miami only had three turnovers. It’s hard to rely solely on turnovers to be successful. However, the Canes have an excellent matchup with the Badgers committing 23 turnovers on the season.
The Jonathan Taylor Show
Wisconsin’s running back Jonathan Taylor is the next great Wisconsin’s back. He joins a brotherhood of Badger running backs such as Ron Dayne, Melvin Gordan, James White, and Montee Ball among others.
Taylor was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award and finished sixth in the voting for Heisman Trophy. His 1,847 rushing yards ranks third in the country and needs only 79 yards to break Adrian Peterson’s freshman rushing record.
Look for Wisconsin to lean on Taylor for 35 plus carries as Miami’s rush defense has been gashed for big plays on the year.
Can Rosier Save His Job?
Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier had a great start to the season in his first year the starter. However, the redshirt junior faded down the stretch with multiple interception games, inconsistent on throws down the field, and did not look confident in the ACC Championship Game.
Rosier will not automatically get the node as the starter next season, even though Rosier tied Vinny Testaverde’s total touchdown record (30). He’s expected to at least compete in another quarterback battle with Freshman N’Kosi Perry, who redshirted this season.
But can Rosier nip that in the bud with a stellar performance against Wisconsin’s stout defense? The Badger defense will be the best Miami’s seen all year, giving up just 13.2 points per game.
Time will tell.