Wisconsin left tackle Michael Deiter revealed on Wednesday that his team has confined its film study on Miami (FL) to three games: at Florida State, at Pittsburgh, and against Clemson in the ACC title game. The Hurricanes went 1-2 in those contests, beating only a disappointing FSU squad and needing a borderline miracle to do so. “Just teams that play similar pro-style offenses to us,” Deiter explained. “I think those games are the best ones to know what Miami wants to do against that style of offense.… The Clemson game I’ve watched a couple of times.” The ‘Canes, meanwhile, are down three starters. Running back Mark Walton was lost in October, tight end Christopher Herndon suffered an injury in November, and receiver Ahmmon Richards got hurt during practice for the ACC Championship.
Wisconsin Badgers (12-1 SU, 8-5 ATS, 7-6 O/U) vs. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (10-2 SU, 5-7 ATS, 2-10 O/U)
NCAAF: Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. EST
Both the Miami Hurricanes and Wisconsin Badgers will be hoping to bounce back from conference championship losses when they collide in the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla. on Dec. 30. Miami has lost two in a row overall–first to Pittsburgh and then against Clemson for the ACC title. The Badgers were undefeated before they fell to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship.
Wisconsin finished the regular season in the top five in the entire FBS in a haul of defensive categories. The Badgers boast the No. 1 total defense (253 yards allowed per game), the No. 2 rushing defense (93 ypg), the No. 3 scoring defense (13.2 ppg), and they are No. 1 in opponent passer rating (96.32), No. 2 in yards per play allowed (4.24), and No. 5 in yards per rush allowed (2.96). During their season-opening 12-game winning streak, the Badgers held 11 opponents to fewer than 18 points. During their last seven victories, only Indiana managed more than 14 points. The defense did its best, too, in a 27-21 Big Ten Championship loss to Ohio State. Following a slow start (the Buckeyes scored 14 first-quarter points and 21 in the opening half), Wisconsin limited Ohio State to six points over the final 30 minutes. But the loss means head coach Paul Chryst’s team is going to the Orange Bowl instead of to the College Football Playoff.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be here,” head coach Paul Chryst assured. “I’m really thankful for our team and what they’ve done to give us the opportunity to play in this game.… It’s an iconic bowl game.”
Stumbling down the stretch
Things started to fall apart earlier for Miami than they did for Wisconsin–although “fall apart” is too harsh of a term since a berth in the Orange Bowl would have been considered a smashing success for the Hurricanes before this season started. Whatever the case, head coach Mark Richt’s squad preceded its 38-3 ACC Championship blowout at the hands of Clemson by getting upset at Pittsburgh 24-14 over Thanksgiving. That was a Pittsburgh squad that finished the season 5-7 and out of the bowl picture. After scoring at least 41 points in consecutive outings against Notre Dame and Virginia, the ‘Canes combined for an anemic 17 points in their two losses. Quarterback Malik Rosier completed fewer than half of his passes against the Tigers while finishing with 110 yards and two interceptions.
“Now that we’ve lost two in a row we don’t want to feel that way again,’’ Richt noted. “One of the most fun things in college football is the celebration with the team after a great victory. And one of the hardest things is being able to look everybody in the eye when it’s over and realize we couldn’t get it done. But the one thing about our team is we’ve done it all together. We’ve got great staff unity. We’ve got great player unity. And there’s a great trust factor with everybody. They did an awesome job of putting things into perspective. And now it’s time to turn the page and get after a really good team.’’
The Wisconsin Badgers are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five overall
- 6-0 ATS in their last six games on grass
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following a loss
The Miami (FL) Hurricanes are:
- 2-6 ATS in their last eight overall
- 1-7 ATS in their last eight neutral-site games
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games against the Big Ten
Aside from perhaps a 24-10 win over then-No. 24 Michigan, the Badgers’ showing against a favored Ohio State team may have been its best of the season. They simply could no engineer a late drive to get across the finish line. Miami, on the other hand, has thoroughly underwhelmed from start to finish in each of its last two games. Wisconsin is 4-1 ATS in its last five overall, 6-0 ATS in its last six on grass, and 5-2 ATS in its last seven following a loss. The Hurricanes are 2-6 ATS in their last eight overall, 1-7 ATS in their last eight neutral-site contests, 1-4 ATS in their last five against the Big Ten, 2-6 ATS in their last eight on grass, 1-4 ATS in their last five following a loss, and 1-5 ATS in their last six bowl games. Don’t be surprised if those trends continue.
Pick: Wisconsin Badgers -6.5
A date with one of the best defenses in the country bodes especially unwell for a slumping Miami offense at the moment. Rosier has completed fewer than 49 percent of his passes over the last two contests. In the last three games, he is 44-for-91 (48.4 percent). The under is 7-3 in the Badgers’ last 10 non-conference contests and 3-1-1 in their last five bowl games. It is also 16-5 in the Hurricanes’ last 21 overall, 6-0 in their last six neutral-site contests, 5-1 in their last six against winning opponents, 45-20 in their last 65 non-conference contests, 9-1 in their last 10 on grass, and 4-0 in their last four bowl games. Look for this one to stay under the total.