2017 Goodyear Cotton Bowl, Wisconsin vs. WMU Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

2017 Goodyear Cotton Bowl, Wisconsin vs. WMU Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

Bowl Projections

2017 Goodyear Cotton Bowl, Wisconsin vs. WMU Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores


Goodyear Cotton Bowl Prediction, Wisconsin vs. Western Michigan Game Preview, History, Scores

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Three reasons why you should watch the Goodyear Cotton Bowl between Wisconsin (10-3) vs. Western Michigan (13-0), why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


Date: Monday, January 2nd
Game Time: 1:00 pm
Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Network: ESPN

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Scroll down for the video preview and bowl history

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness (1 best-40 worst): 12 out of 40

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Goodyear Cotton Bowl

Can Western Michigan carry the flag for the Group of Fivers? The representatives haven’t just shown up over the first two years of the College Football Playoff, they’ve been amazing. Whether it was Houston housing Florida State last year, or Boise State taking down Arizona two years ago, or even UCF beating Baylor in the Fiesta in the last year of the BCS, there’s a reputation to uphold at this point. Okay, Western Michigan, get it done.

Can Wisconsin prove it’s for real? Everyone is wondering that about Western Michigan – that’s the main storyline – but the Badgers went from being in the theoretical discussion for a College Football Playoff spot after roaring against Penn State in the first half, to being ripped apart in the second half in a stunning collapse. Lose, and even with the wins over LSU, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota, and the close losses to Ohio State and Michigan, the season will look a lot uglier at 10-4 with a loss to a MAC team – let’s just call it what it is – after that performance against the Nittany Lions.

And back to Western Michigan … really, just how good are the Broncos? Never in the playoff discussion despite being just one of two teams to finish the year unbeaten, WMU did everything it was supposed to do, and then some, roaring for close to 500 yards per game, allowing just 353, and beating Northwestern, destroying Illinois, and in all, getting wins over five bowl bound teams. How many bowl teams did Washington beat? Five.

Here’s Why Wisconsin Will Win The Goodyear Cotton Bowl

Okay, Western Michigan, playtime is over. The Broncos have been terrific all season long against the run, but teams that ran 34 times or more rumbled, coming up with 200 yards or more in those four games. It’s not that teams couldn’t run on WMU – actually, Illinois couldn’t – but they got down and had to start throwing. Ball State ran well, and Northern Illinois, Georgia Southern and Kent State all rumbled. Wisconsin only ran the ball fewer than 40 times twice, running 38 times for 223 yards against Nebraska, and getting stuffed by Michigan. Rested, the ground game is about to roll.

WMU is about to see and feel the pressure. And not just because it’s on the big stage. You don’t think T.J. Watt and the rest of the Badger defense aren’t a wee bit motivated after getting held in check by Penn State in the second half of the Big Ten Championship? The WMU offensive front has been outstanding at keeping QB Zach Terrell upright all season long, but the Badgers are about to bring the heat – Terrell won’t have time to make those heady second and third reads.

No one controls the clock better than Wisconsin. One of Western Michigan’s biggest keys is ball control, ranking fourth in the nation with third down conversion after third down conversion, while keeping its defense off the field and keeping it rested. That’s not happening against the Badgers. They’re No. 1 in the nation in possession time – keeping it for over 35 minutes – and third in third down D.

Here’s Why Western Michigan Will Win The Goodyear Cotton Bowl

Zach Terrell. Michigan showed it with just one pass that turned into the game-winner, but no one else was able to do it – until Penn State in the second half of the Big Ten Championship. No, no one was able to fully expose the one big, giant Wisconsin weakness – defending the deep ball. Trace McSorley hit 71% of his passes for 384 yards and four scores hitting bomb after bomb against the talented, but limited Badger corners. Terrell is a brilliant midrange passer, but he can get deep, too, averaging close to ten yards per throw with 32 touchdown passes and three scores, helped by …

Corey Davis. Wisconsin left tackle Ryan Ramczyk is probably the best pro prospect in the game, but Davis isn’t all that far behind. The 6-2, 213-pound All-American literally played big in game after game, catching 91 passes for 1,427 yards and 18 scores. Granted, Wisconsin will have well over a month to prepare for him, but it might not matter – he’s got the ability to get deep on the Badger DBs, and he’s brilliant after the catch for a player of his size.

The Broncos won’t beat themselves, and they won’t wilt. This is a loaded team full of veterans, and while they haven’t exactly been there before, they’re not going to be intimidated just because they’re playing Wisconsin – they’re used to dealing with the Big Ten. They own the turnover margin, they don’t commit a ton of dumb penalties, they’re great on special teams, and they own the clock – it sounds an awful lot like that team on the other side of the ball.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Goodyear Cotton Bowl

Wisconsin deserves credit if it wins, and it shouldn’t be roasted if it loses. There’s a bit of a no-win thing happening here for the Badgers. Win, and yeah, they’re supposed to beat the MAC team. Actually, they’re supposed to be in Pasadena, but they blew it. Lose, and they lost to a MAC team and they closed out the season with a brutal thud. At least that’s what the national perception might be. In reality, Western Michigan is totally and completely legitimate, and it really is good enough to win this.

Alex Hornibrook should be available to play, but his absence didn’t matter against Penn State. Bart Houston was great, hitting 76% of his throws for 174 yards with no mistakes – it wasn’t his fault the D faltered. The Badgers will get just enough from the passing game to be fine, but it’s the ground attack that needs to come out roaring. The time off should be a massive help for RB Corey Clement along with the talented offensive front. Get ready for the Badgers to thump.

P.J. Fleck is still rowing that boat. And that’s going to matter. Fleck could easily have been named the coach at Purdue, Baylor, Western Kentucky, or just about any next-step-up program that had an opening. Instead, he’s still around Kalamazoo, and there’s no question that the continuity is going to help. The Broncos still have their head coach.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Goodyear Cotton Bowl?

Is it possible for Western Michigan to show off the firepower that the Badgers don’t have? Absolutely. They’ve got the right blend and the right veterans to once again do the Group of Five proud in the NY6.

But the Badgers will be too tight on both sides of the ball – they lines are going to own this game.

Get ready for the Wisconsin ground game to take over as the game goes on, while the defensive front will make up for missing in action when the Penn State took over in Indianapolis.

Great in its last two bowl games, Wisconsin will close out the season with its 11th win while looking convincing along the way.

Final Score

Wisconsin 37, Western Michigan 24


Wisconsin -7.5, o/u: 53.5

ATS Confidence: 3.5
5: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score in your favorite bar
0: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score after covering a College Football Playoff semifinal

Must See Rating: 4
5: New Year’s Eve: Defected In The House, Ministry of Sound, London
0: New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Special Co-Host Kathy Griffin

Get Tickets For The Goodyear Cotton Bowl

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Cotton Bowl History, Results

Dec. 31, 2015 Alabama 38 Michigan State 0
Jan. 1, 2015 Michigan State 42 Baylor 41
Jan. 3, 2014 Missouri 41 Oklahoma State 31
Jan. 4, 2013 Texas A&M 41 Oklahoma 13
Jan. 6, 2012 Arkansas 29 Kansas State 16
Jan. 7, 2011 LSU 41 Texas A&M 24
Jan. 1, 2010 Mississippi 21 Oklahoma State 7
Jan. 1, 2009 Mississippi 47 Texas Tech 34
Jan. 1, 2008 Missouri 38 Arkansas 7
Jan. 1, 2007 Auburn 17 Nebraska 14
Jan. 2, 2006 Alabama 13 Texas Tech 10
Jan. 1, 2005 Tennessee 38 Texas A&M 7
Jan. 2, 2004 Mississippi 31 Oklahoma State 28
Jan. 1, 2003 Texas 35 LSU 20
Jan. 1, 2002 Oklahoma 10 Arkansas 3
Jan. 1, 2001 Kansas State 35 Tennessee 21
Jan. 1, 2000 Arkansas 27 Texas 6
Jan. 1, 1999 Texas 38 Mississippi State 11
Jan. 1, 1998 UCLA 29 Texas A&M 23
Jan. 1, 1997 BYU 19 Kansas State 15
Jan. 1, 1996 Colorado 38 Oregon 6
Jan. 2, 1995 USC 55 Texas Tech 14
Jan. 1, 1994 Notre Dame 24 Texas A&M 21
Jan. 1, 1993 Notre Dame 28 Texas A&M 3
Jan. 1, 1992 Florida State 10 Texas A&M 2
Jan. 1, 1991 Miami 46 Texas 3
Jan. 1, 1990 Tennessee 31 Arkansas 27
Jan. 2, 1989 UCLA 17 Arkansas 3
Jan. 1, 1988 Texas A&M 35 Notre Dame 10
Jan. 1, 1987 Ohio State 28 Texas A&M 12
Jan. 1, 1986 Texas A&M 36 Auburn 16
Jan. 1, 1985 Boston College 45 Houston 28
Jan. 2, 1984 Georgia 10 Texas 9
Jan. 1, 1983 SMU 7 Pittsburgh 3
Jan. 1, 1982 Texas 14 Alabama 12
Jan. 1, 1981 Alabama 30 Baylor 2
Jan. 1, 1980 Houston 17 Nebraska 14
Jan. 1, 1979 Notre Dame 35 Houston 34
Jan. 2, 1978 Notre Dame 38 Texas 10
Jan. 1, 1977 Houston 30 Maryland 21
Jan. 1, 1976 Arkansas 31 Georgia 10
Jan. 1, 1975 Penn State 41 Baylor 20
Jan. 1, 1974 Nebraska 19 Texas 3
Jan. 1, 1973 Texas 17 Alabama 13
Jan. 1, 1972 Penn State 30 Texas 6
Jan. 1, 1971 Notre Dame 24 Texas 11
Jan. 1, 1970 Texas 21 Notre Dame 17
Jan. 1, 1969 Texas 36 Tennessee 13
Jan. 1, 1968 Texas A&M 20 Alabama 16
Dec. 31, 1966 Georgia 24 SMU 9
Jan. 1, 1966 LSU 14 Arkansas 7
Jan. 1, 1965 Arkansas 10 Nebraska 7
Jan. 1, 1964 Texas 28 Navy 6
Jan. 1, 1963 LSU 13 Texas 0
Jan. 1, 1962 Texas 12 Mississippi 7
Jan. 2, 1961 Duke 7 Arkansas 6
Jan. 1, 1960 Syracuse 23 Texas 14
Jan. 1, 1959 TCU 0 Air Force 0
Jan. 1, 1958 Navy 20 Rice 7
Jan. 1, 1957 TCU 28 Syracuse 27
Jan. 2, 1956 Mississippi 14 TCU 13
Jan. 1, 1955 Georgia Tech 14 Arkansas 6
Jan. 1, 1954 Rice 28 Alabama 6
Jan. 1, 1953 Texas 16 Tennessee 0
Jan. 1, 1952 Kentucky 20 TCU 7
Jan. 1, 1951 Tennessee 20 Texas 14
Jan. 2, 1950 Rice 27 North Carolina 13
Jan. 1, 1949 SMU 21 Oregon 13
Jan. 1, 1948 SMU 13 Penn State 13
Jan. 1, 1947 Arkansas 0 LSU 0
Jan. 1, 1946 Texas 40 Missouri 27
Jan. 1, 1945 Oklahoma State 34 TCU 0
Jan. 1, 1944 Texas 7 Randolph Field 7
Jan. 1, 1943 Texas 14 Georgia Tech 7
Jan. 1, 1942 Alabama 29 Texas A&M 21
Jan. 1, 1941 Texas A&M 13 Fordham 12
Jan. 1, 1940 Clemson 6 Boston College 3
Jan. 2, 1939 St. Mary’s 20 Texas Tech 13
Jan. 1, 1938 Rice 28 Colorado 14
Jan. 1, 1937 TCU 16 Marquette 6

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