The undefeated Western Michigan Broncos will take on the 10-3, higher-ranked Wisconsin Badgers on the morning of Monday, January 2 in the 2017 Cotton Bowl.
Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin
The annual New Year’s Day classic initially unfolded in 1937 in what would become the iconic Cotton Bowl Stadium. The event was held annually at the venue until 2009. In the summer of that year, AT&T Stadium opened in nearby Arlington, and the powers that be decided to shift the game to the gigantic, technologically-enhanced and newly-minted stadium that is the permanent home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
This year’s game will feature a very interesting matchup starring an undefeated squad from a non-major conference and the Wisconsin Badgers. Both teams had very impressive seasons in which there superstars flourished and their excellent coaching was shown off to the college football world.
Let’s begin with Western Michigan, a squad that went 13-0 over the course of the year, and really only played in one or two close games. They began the year in Chicago at Northwestern, a sizable task for any program form any conference.
The Broncos managed to emerge with a 22-21 victory, and the win gave them momentum that led to the single greatest year in the history of their school. The rest of their victories in September were by 49, 24 and 18 points. There four victories in October came by 39, 15, 41 and 14 points. They outscored their opponents in November by a combined total of 182-41. Indeed, they will be aiming to leave the field at AT&T Stadium with a resounding victory on the first Monday of 2017.
Western Michigan has the 16th-ranked offense in college football, thanks in large part to their 237 yards per game on the ground. They complement that attack with the 25th-ranked defense in all of college football. It is very rare for a team to be ranked in the top-25 in both offense and defense, even for squads playing in what are typically New Year’s Day bowl games.
But the oddsmakers in Las Vegas are not exactly convinced that Western Michigan will be able to hang with Wisconsin. They currently have the Badgers as an eight-point favorite, meaning that Western Michigan would be lucky to keep the game within a touchdown. While it seems bizarre for a team that comes into the game 13-0 to be an underdog to a team that lost three games, Wisconsin is clearly playing much tougher competition.
One of the three losses that Wisconsin suffered came at the hands of the red-hot Penn State Nittany Lions in the Big 10 Championship in Indianapolis. After leading 28-7 at the half, the Badgers coughed up the lead to a Penn State squad that has become known for amazing second halves.
Fans can look at that game from one of two angles. The first is that it is a sign that the Badgers are vulnerable, and can be scored against with reckless abandon. The other angle is that it was a one-time, rare occurrence that the team will be sure to never let happen again. Whatever side of the ledger fans land on, the 2017 Cotton Bowl is sure to be one of the more entertaining games of this bowl season.
— Cotton Bowl Classic (@CottonBowlGame) December 4, 2016
Any and all fans looking to attend this game can find an abundance of affordable tickets by checking out TicketProcess.com