WHO: Miami (7-5) vs. Wisconsin (7-5)
WHAT: The 9th Pinstripe Bowl
WHEN: 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York City, New York
THE SKINNY: Last season, Wisconsin topped Miami in the Orange Bowl as the runners-up of the Big Ten and ACC championship games took the field in the New Years Six. This season we have a rematch that is hardly stacking up by comparison. Both Miami and Wisconsin are simply looking to end their disappointing seasons with wins in a bowl game being played in a baseball stadium, a situation no team starting the year ranked in the preseason top 10 envisions being the hope in August. Yet, here we are!
Both teams should fare well running the football as their offensive strength. The Badgers feature sophomore Jonathan Taylor, the nation’s rushing leader who is just 11 yards shy of the 2,000-yard mark for a second consecutive season and looking to capture the FBS rushing title in the process. Taylor has been the most dependable asset of the Wisconsin offense, although he has had an unfortunate knack for coughing up the football. Against Miami, a team that prides itself with the turnover Chain and with defensive coordinator Manny Diaz coaching his final game with the hurricanes before leaving to be the head coach at Temple, Taylor will have to avoid giving Miami’s defenses opportunities to pounce on a loose ball.
Miami’s running game isn’t quite where head coach Mark Richt is hoping to get it, just as he did with Georgia, but it should be viable with the duo of Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas taking the pressure off the passing game. Throwing the football has been a circus at times for Miami, and that may not get any better in this one as the Hurricanes look to do battle not just with Wisconsin, but also the weather. Miami in the cold sounds like a disaster just waiting to happen against a team that plays in the northern-most region of the Big Ten.
THE LINE: Miami -3.0
THE PREDICTION: Wisconsin 23, Miami 20