- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Champs Sports Bowl: Wisconsin (9-3) vs. Miami (9-3)
Dec. 29, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
The Badgers are heading to Orlando for the second consecutive season, but there's certainly a different feeling within the program this time around.
Wisconsin was one of the nation's biggest disappointments last year, tumbling from the top 10 to the middle of the Big Ten. The season ended things with a very lousy showing against Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl.
This time, head coach Bret Bielema leads a nationally-ranked team that has exceeded most expectations into a Dec. 29 matchup against Miami. The Badgers boast a balanced offense and an aggressive defense led by ends O'Brien Schofield and J.J. Watt, who have combined for 36 tackles for loss, the highest total among any FBS tandem. Defensive coordinator Dave Doeren needs both Schofield and Watt to get after Miami quarterback Jacory Harris, an early season Heisman Trophy contender who has thrown multiple touchdown passes in nine games.
The bowl could be a classic speed vs. power matchup, as Wisconsin tries to neutralize Miami's speed with its downhill rushing attack. Sophomore running back John Clay, the Big Ten's Offensive Player of the Year, ranks 14th nationally in rushing and has eclipsed 100 rush yards in each of his last five games.
Wisconsin is 1-2 all-time against Miami, last facing the Canes in 1989. The Badgers are 0-1 in the Champs Sports Bowl but 2-1 in Orlando bowl games.