Capital One Bowl: Preview, Predictions, TV info

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

What: Capital One Bowl

Who: South Carolina (10-2, 6-2 SEC vs. Wisconsin (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten)

When: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET (ABC)

Where: Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium (65,438), Orlando, Fla.

Opening Line: Wisconsin -1.5

What matters: Both the Badgers and Gamecocks must feel like they were one inexplicable defeat -- Carolina at a Tennessee team that finished 5-7, Wisconsin to double-digit underdogs Penn State at home -- from making a BCS bowl. But neutral fans won't complain, thanks a mouth-watering SEC-Big Ten matchup featuring one 10-win team and one that would have been if not for the season's worst officiating debacle in Tempe. The matchup between the Badgers' lethal rushing attack, averaging an FBS second-best 6.6 yards per-carry, and a Gamecock defensive line featuring the likes of defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles and (possibly) Jadeveon Clowney should be worth the price of admission alone.

Who matters: Only four teams in the country gave up fewer yards per-play than the Badgers, thanks in no small part to senior linebacker Chris Borland, the team's leading tackler with 102 stops and the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year. Borland and the rest of the Badger front seven will have its hands full with both Connor Shaw and Mike Davis, however, the former one of the nation's most underrated running quarterbacks and the latter on his way to a possible All-SEC season before a leg injury slowed him down the stretch.

Matchup question: Any team that boasts two 1,300-yard rushers -- as the Badgers do in Melvin Gordon and James White -- is going to demand plenty of eight-man fronts and one-on-one outside coverage. Gamecock corners Victor Hampton and Jimmy Legree have had solid seasons (opposing quarterbacks finished with a 13-to-15 TD-to-INT ratio), but can they keep 1,000-yard receiver Jared Abbredaris in check with so much focus on run support?

Prediction: Even after their loss to Penn State, the Badgers can still claim a full 6.61 yard-per-play average and only 3.20 yards per-play allowed -- a net +3.41 per-play margin that dwarfs even, say, Ohio State's (+2.14). Both teams might be underrated, but the Badgers seem more underrated. Wisconsin 27, South Carolina 21.

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