Wisconsin-Miami Champs Sports Bowl: 5 Reasons to Watch
No. 15 Miami (FL) faces off with No. 25 Wisconsin in Orlando on December 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET on Dec. 29.
With two 9-3 teams taking the field, the Champs Sports Bowl promises to be one of the most intriguing games not taking place on New Year's Day.
In fact, other than maybe the Las Vegas Bowl (Oregon State vs. BYU), I would say that this has the potential for being THE best game before we commence into 2010.
Here are five reasons why the Hurricanes and Badgers are worth taking a look at.
No. 5—It's Been a While...
The last time Wisconsin and Miami faced off was a year before current UW athletic director Barry Alvarez was hired as head coach of the Badgers.
Yep, it's been 20 years since the "Big W" and the "U" crossed paths. 1989 saw Miami absolutely destroy Wisconsin 51-3. They also played the year before, in 1988, with Miami winning that time as well, 23-3.
Wisconsin did however get one win in 1958, with a 20-0 shutout. It will be nice for fans to watch two strong football programs clash for the first time in two decades.
No. 4—Bret Bielema vs. Randy Shannon
Two of the youngest coaches in college football square off in this one as well.
Bret Bielema (age 39) comes into the game with a 36-14 record in his fourth year as Wisconsin's coach. After going 12-1 in his first season, Bielema has come under some criticism recently, especially with last year's 7-6 record, but seems to have turned the squad around this year.
Randy Shannon (age 43) is in his third full season at Miami and has a 21-16 record leading the Hurricanes. After failing to make a bowl game in 2007, Miami bounced back and got to the Emerald Bowl last year, only to fall 24-17 against Cal.
As the Big Ten's leading rusher and Offensive Player of the Year, Wisconsin sophomore John Clay is viewed as one of the top running backs in the nation.
Clay has rushed for close to 1,400 yards this year, along with scoring 16 touchdowns. Although not the most electrifying runner, Clay can bowl over defenders and shows surprising speed for a 240-pounder.
After his monster season this year, Clay will surely be mentioned as a Heisman candidate next year and evokes memories of Ron Dayne for many Badger fans.
No. 2—Jacory Harris
Only a sophomore, Miami quarterback Jacory Harris has emerged as one of the bright young gunslingers in the nation.
Harris has thrown for over 3,000 yards this year, with 23 touchdowns. He's put up big numbers through the air this year, and against the Badgers pass "defense" he should continue that trend.
No.1—Offense, Offense, Offense
If the last two slides haven't been any indication, you can definitely expect some scoring in this one. Both offenses average over 30 points a game while their defenses give up around 22 points.
The two teams are are pretty evenly matched, with the Badgers relying on the run and the Hurricanes on the pass. Both teams also struggle specifically in defending their counterparts' strengths.
The Hurricanes can't stop the run (almost 120 yards a game) and the Badgers can't stop the pass (over 2,500 yards this year.) For any fan hoping for a shootout, look no more. The Champs Sports Bowl should have all you need.