The Canes and Badgers both head into the final game of the season coming off of disappointing losses in their respective conference championship games. Wisconsin lost to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship 27-21 which kept the Badgers from earning a spot in the College Football Playoff. Also, Miami got thrashed by Clemson in the ACC Championship game 38-3 in their second consecutive loss of the season.
Therefore, the Canes and Badgers will be looking to right some wrongs and end both of their seasons with an important Orange Bowl victory.
The game is set up to be an entertaining affair due to the conflict in the two teams’ styles. Miami has shown this year to be an aggressive, fast-paced team on both sides of the ball. Where Wisconsin has continued their tradition of being a methodical, powerhouse football team who tries to run over their opponents.
The Hurricanes are sure to have the home-field advantage as they are playing in their home stadium. Although they have been in their home state, and in their region, it is not the normal home game for Miami.
“And a lot of people say, well, you’re at home, what’s the big deal? Well the big deal is if you see the hotel we are staying, none of our guys live at the beach, and we are living on the beach right now, which we’re enjoying,” said Hurricanes Head Coach Mark Richt on the Orange Bowl being different than normal home games. “We’re practicing at Nova Southeastern University, a place we normally don’t practice. It’s very much like a normal bowl for us and all the bowl activities that we’re doing are things we don’t normally do on a daily basis.”
Big Ten teams traditionally have not played in the Orange Bowl, so this is an unusual experience for Wisconsin and their players.
When asked about the rare opportunity for the Badgers, Head Coach Paul Chryst said, “When I found out we were playing in the Orange Bowl, I called my wife to let her know, and she goes, yeah I know. When the plane landed, they announced it, and our kids were excited. She said, how were the kids, I said they were fired up.”
“I think it’s going to be one heck of a battle. I know our guys are excited about the opportunity to compete. That’s one thing about our guys is they do like to compete. It ought to be one heck of a ball game.” Said Coach Richt on Saturday’s game.
So, hopefully Mark Richt is right and the Orange Bowl turns out to be a fantastic game for everyone involved.