On January 1, 2014 the #9 South Carolina Gamecocks faceoff against the #19 Wisconsin Badgers in the Capital One Bowl held in Orlando, Florida. Both teams entered the 2013 season with high expectations and expected to be playing in a marquee bowl game; however, both the Gamecocks and Badgers suffered losses to unranked teams that kept them from a big game opportunity. Either way, expect both teams to come out firing on all cylinders in an effort to silence their critics and impress their faithful fans.
The Capital One Bowl features two of the nation’s best rushing teams with 1000-yard rushers on both sides of the gridiron. The South Carolina Gamecocks have one of the most balanced offenses in college football. At the QB position, the Gamecocks are led by Connor Shaw who threw for more than 2000 yards, 21 touchdowns and an unheard of 1 interception. When not spreading the field through the air, the Gamecocks will be looking to hand the ball off to their stud running back Mike Davis who had more than 1100 yards on only 194 carries and an equally impressive 11 touchdowns.
On defense, the Gamecocks are led by star pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney. After an impressive freshman season in 2012, Clowney struggled throughout 2013 and will be looking to have a monster bowl game to regain his status as one of the best prospects for April’s NFL draft. The Gamecocks ranked 14th in the nation for points allowed at 20 points per game. There is no debate as to what the Wisconsin Badgers plan to do on offense: pound the ball on the ground. The Badgers rank 8th in college football with 283 rushing yards per game and are led at the running back position by two of the nation’s best players in Melvin Gordon and James White.
Between the Badgers rushing and passing attack the team ranked 26th in the NCAA for points scored per game at 35.8. Both players accounted for more than 1000 yards of offense apiece and had a combined 25 rushing touchdowns. The Badgers are not all offense and are ranked 6th in the country in fewest points allowed per game. Because the Gamecocks feature a more balanced offense, expect South Carolina to emerge victorious on New Years Day.
Even though both teams feature excellent defenses, the Badgers had the luxury of playing in the weaker Big 10 while the Gamecocks are in the formidable SEC. However, given that both teams feature very similar playing styles the game should be competitive down to the wire.