10-3 (7-1), 1st Southeastern - West
11-1 (7-1), 2nd Big Ten
How many BCS Conference teams can say they have 11 wins and not end up in a BCS bowl? One, and that is Wisconsin. The Badgers lost once, to Michigan, and since Michigan and Ohio State got BCS bids, the committee decided against petitioning for a 3rd Big Ten team. So Wisconsin had to play in the Capital One Bowl. Arkansas on the other hand had their chance to play in a BCS game but a botched punt return begin the downfall for them in the SEC Title game. Both teams have a lot to prove to the country. There were a lot of critics that knocked Wisconsin's out of conference schedule and the fact that they did not play Ohio State in Big Ten play.
The Badgers are led by super freshman PJ Hill Jr who rushed for 1533 yards and 15 touchdowns in his first season. Their QB John Stocco is nothing flashy but he embodies the grit and determinaton that Barry Alverez and now Bret Bielema instills in his team. Stocco threw for 1979 yards with 15 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. He might not seem fast but he also picks up first downs with his feet if he needs to. Travis Beckum is the Badgers' leading receiver with 821 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Defensively the Badgers are tough, giving up only 243.5 yards per game. A little over 100 of those yards come on the ground which could spell trouble for Arkansas' run oriented offense. Finally the Badgers only give up 11.9 points per game.
The Jack of all trades for the Razorbacks is ITB All American and the runner up for the Heisman Trophy, Darren McFadden. On the year McFadden rushed for over 1550 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also spends time in the shotgun as the quarterback and is a threat at receiver. So to beat Arkansas, stop McFadden. Which is much easier said than done. But when you that, they throw Felix Jones and his 1000 yards rushing at you. No win situation.
Like their other conferencemates (So. Carolina & Georgia), the Razorbacks have liked to play musical quarterbacks. Their coach Houston Nutt has settled on Casey Dick for the stretch run over much touted freshman Mitch Mustain. In 9 games Dick has thrown for 893 yards and 9 touchdowns. Marcus Monk is the leading receiver with 949 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Razorbacks are a little looser on defense giving up over 300 yards per game and 125 on the ground. This game is going to come down to who can run the ball better.
Wisconsin isn't a flashy team, they don't win pretty but they do win. Arkansas on the other hand throws all kind of gimmick formations at you to win. I really like the Badgers chances in this game. They faced some pretty good tailbacks in Big Ten play with Michael Hart and Tony Hunt and they held their own with them. I believe the Badgers will slow down (not stop) the Razorbacks' rushing attack and force the game in Dick's hands. This game will also premiere a battle between Hill Jr and McFadden for Heisman implications for 2007. Look for a good old fashioned smash mouth game. Wisconsin 37-33
Brian from CFR