5 Reasons to Watch the Capital One Bowl
5 Reasons to Watch South Carolina vs. Wisconsin in Capital One Bowl
The Capital One Bowl pitting the No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers (9-3) against the No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2) is one of the best matchups outside of the major BCS bowls and should be must-see television on New Year’s Day.
The SEC-Big Ten game was played by Georgia and Nebraska last year with the Bulldogs knocking off the Huskers to extend the SEC’s winning streak to three in the bowl, including a 2011 win by South Carolina.
This will be the third trip for Wisconsin and South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl with the Badgers a perfect 2-0 and the Gamecocks 1-1 as they look to end the Badgers' perfect record at the Citrus Bowl. The last time Wisconsin was in the Capital One Bowl they knocked off No. 7 Auburn 24-10 in the 2005 game.
Neither of these teams really had the seasons some were expecting from them this year, but this game will still provide quality entertainment. Heck, it would be worth watching for the simple pleasure of seeing what Steve Spurrier has to say before, during and after the game as the Head Ball Coach is one of the best quotes in the game.
But each team does have a number of star players and intriguing storylines that make this game appointment television. There are potential Heisman Trophy candidates for next season, a possible top overall draft pick, and of course a senior playing in what could be his final competitive football game. Here are five reasons you just can't miss the Capital One Bowl this year.
5. South Carolina QB Connor Shaw
Connor Shaw will be playing his final game for the Gamecocks and has been one of the most underrated players in the entire SEC over the last two years. He threw 21 touchdowns to only one single interception this season, yet no one outside of Columbia has noticed. Only Johnny Manziel and Aaron Murray threw more touchdowns in SEC play this year than Shaw. This could be your last chance to see ever see Shaw because most NFL Draft experts will tell you he may not have a future at the next level.
4. Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Chris Borland
Chris Borland is Woodson-Nagurski winner given to the best defender in the Big Ten and was a first team All-American selection by the FWAA. He is one of the best linebackers to ever suit up for the Badgers as Borland led the Badgers by a mile with 102 tackles, his third 100-tackle season, had 8.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. He also has a knack for the turnover as he is tied for the Big Ten career lead with 14 forced fumbles and is second in Wisconsin history with eight recoveries. He is projected as a third-fourth round pick by most draft experts because of his height (5-foot-11) and will look to make a number of plays from sideline-to-sideline for the Badgers.
3. Can Mike Davis Carry the Gamecocks Offense in 2014?
Mike Davis looked like the best running back in the SEC with seven 100-yard games in the team's first nine games, but he was slowed with an injury at the close of the regular season. With Shaw running out of eligibility, Davis will be counted on being "the guy" for South Carolina next year and should see an increased workload. The 5-foot-9, 215-pound back could use this game as a springboard to 2014 where he could be among a number of darkhorse SEC Heisman contenders.
2. Melvin Gordon's Push for the 2014 Heisman
Melvin Gordon announced on Friday he will be returning for his redshirt junior season after leading Wisconsin with 1,466 yards on 181 carries for a ridiculous 8.1 yards per carry. He will be on the short list for the 2014 Heisman Trophy because of his game-breaking ability in the backfield. South Carolina has the No. 40 rush defense, giving up 148.6 yards per game, so Gordon will have the opportunity to put himself toward the front of the Heisman discussion with a monster game and one of his patented 50-yard plus runs.
1. Will Jadeveon Clowney Have Another Hit Heard 'Round the World?
Jadeveon Clowney had the hit of the century in the Outback Bowl last year, and that propelled the freakishly talented defensive end into superstar status and unrealistic expectations. Clowney still found his way on some All-American teams this year despite what many would consider a down year. For my money he's the most talented player in the game and will be playing to prove the doubters wrong that say he shouldn't be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. Another performance like last year's Outback or last year's Clemson game when he had 4.5 sacks is what I'm expecting in what will be his final game in a Gamecock uniform.