MADISON, Wis. - There's nowhere to hide any longer. The No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten) will take on an SEC team for the first time since 2007 this year in the Capital One Bowl, where they'll take on No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2, 6-2 SEC) on Jan. 1, 2014.
The bid to the Capital One Bowl marks Wisconsin's third trip to the game, which is played in Orlando, Fla., at the Citrus Bowl. The Badgers made back-to-back appearances after the 2005 and 2006 seasons, and have a 2-0 record in the game. The Badgers beat Auburn 24-10 in the 2006 game and beat Arkansas 17-14 in the 2007 game, but have just one bowl victory in their six bowl games since then. That includes their three-straight losses in the Rose Bowl to TCU, Oregon, and Stanford, respectively.
Several Wisconsin seniors said they were excited to earn a bid to the Capital One Bowl, which gives them a chance to snap that three-game bowl losing streak and finish their season the right way after losing to Penn State on senior day.
"We want to finish out the season the right way," senior tight end Brian Wozniak said Sunday. "Obviously we didn't get to do that on our Senior Day. So we want to take another shot at that in the bowl game and ultimately finish out the season the best way we can."
The Badgers fell just short of securing eligibility for a BCS bowl game with their 31-24 loss to Penn State in the final week of the regular season, but in the end Wisconsin's BCS ranking wouldn't have mattered anyway. The No. 4 Michigan State Spartans beat the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday night in the Big Ten Championship Game, securing their own place in the 2014 Rose Bowl Game. The Buckeyes had to settle for an at-large bid to the Discover Orange Bowl, where they'll play the No. 12 Clemson Tigers.
The Capital One Bowl will also serve as an early re-introduction to what has been the best conference in college football over the past few seasons. The Badgers are scheduled to take on the LSU Tigers on Aug. 30, 2014 in a neutral site game at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, but the Gamecocks will give the Badgers an earlier taste of some SEC action
"I think we definitely want to make a statement," senior defensive tackle Beau Allen said. "We have a really talented senior class that has a lot of wins over the past four or five years, but we kind of failed to get it done in the postseason, and we know that, so we want to go out on top."
"I think just looking at the Big Ten Conference versus the SEC, it's fun to have those rivalries there and compete, get the Big Ten back up on top," senior safety Dezmen Southward said. "And I think with our preparation, with the seniors we have, it's going to be a fun game I think it's going to be an in the trenches type game for both teams."
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