9-4 (6-2), 1st Southeastern - East
9-3 (5-3), 4th Big Ten
January 1, 11:00 am, ESPN
Tennessee comes to the Outback Bowl for the second year in a row, but this year they do it without three starters. Those starters are among a half dozen Tennessee Volunteers who have been ruled academically ineligible for the Outback Bowl. Wisconsin had a up and down season, but ended the year on a good note. The Badgers got some more good news when their stud tight end Travis Beckum, decided to come back for his senior year. This is a big game for the Big Ten as they hope to erase the bad bowl season they had last year.
Tennessee was only 7 points away from playing in a BCS bowl, losing to LSU in the SEC Championship game, but even in losing that game the Vols looked like a good team. They will be without their offensive coordinator, who left to coach Duke, but their stud quarterback, Erik Ainge, will still be there. Ainge has thrown for 3157 yards and 29 touchdowns, and should thank his offensive line for most of that because Ainge is the least sacked QB in the nation. This year the Vols have done some damage on the ground with Arian Foster who has rushed for 1162 yards and 11 touchdowns. Ainge will be missing his #1 receiver, Lucas Taylor due to the suspensions mentioned earlier.
When you talk about Badger football, you usually think about a tough running game. Well this year's team is no different. PJ Hill Jr was the main back for Wisconsin, but unfortunately it looks as if he will not be able to play in the Outback Bowl due to a high ankle sprain. That will put more pressure on quarterback Tyler Donovan (2452 yards 16 touchdowns) and Hill's backup Zach Brown. Donovan will still have Travis Beckum to throw to and Beckum is going to create a lot of mismatched with the Vols secondary. The Badgers are above average in the pass defense category, but I doubt they've faced a pass offense like Tennessee will throw at them.
If all things were equal here, I think Wisconsin would have a good chance to win. But without their top running back Hill, the Badgers are going to have a tough time winning this game. Wisconsin did well going down the stretch without Hill, but again I don't think they faced the quality of competition as they will in this bowl game. Tennessee has a tough, balanced attack with Ainge and Foster, which makes it hard for defensive coordinators to scheme against. I think Wisconsin will be able to keep it close early, but unlike last year's Outback Bowl, the Vols will pull it out for a victory in the second half. Tennessee 27 Wisconsin 13
Picking Tennessee to Win
ITB Brian Sakowski, Bastard Sons of Pinfall Marks, Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, Sportsbone TV, Rizzo Sports, ITB Ron Juckett, ITB Charlie Swager, Football Frontier, The LSC Scoop, MidWest Coast Bias, Mrs Corn Nation, Brian Isaacson, Brant Chruscial, Greg Gowins, Pete Boivin, Jason Stiver, Cyril Tircuit, Matt Kieta
Picking Wisconsin to Win
Pitch Right, Kansas It's Business Time, The Enlightened Spartan, MizzouRAH, Corn Nation, Logan Jaffe, Jeff Brancolini, Dan Schoonover, Lou Nemec, Timmy B, Richard Dixon, Rodney Polston, Sunny Verma, Lorena The Dodgerchick