Arkansas to the Cap One

Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema and Florida Citrus Sports Executive Director Steve Hogan comment after the Capital One Bowl selects the Razorbacks (10-3) to play the Badgers (11-1) in an SEC-Big 10 matchup that will happen Jan. 1 in Orlando at noon CST.

Turns out what the Capital One Bowl had the Univeristy of Arkansas in its wallet.

The Razorbacks learned Sunday afternoon that they had been chosen by the Jan. 1, 2007 bowl in Orlando to matchup against Big 10 foe Wisconsin (11-1), who has won eight straight games since losing 27-13 at Michigan.

"We are so happy to be their first pick," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. "It is imporrtant because it helps everything, prestige, recruiting, all that. We are really appreciative."

Florida Citrus Sports Eexcutive Director Steve Hogan said that was picked over Tennessee and Auburn.

"Arkansas earned the right to represent the SEC in the Capital One Bowl," Hogan said. "With ten straight wins this season, the Razorbacks proved that they are an elite team in a competitive conference, and we're both proud and excited to bring them to the Capital One Bowl."

"...When you looked at Tennessee and Arkansas side by side with Tennesssee healthy at the end of the year and they were exciting," Hogan added, "but the fact that Arkansas beat them on the field and where they ended up in the BSC standings made Arkansas pretty much a clear-cut choice for us. Auburn was also in the discussion."

There was some confusion that Arkansas had to overcome after an erroneous report by Atlanta sports writer Tony Barnhart on Monday noted that the Razorback officials wanted to go to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas instead of the Cap One.

Nutt and UA athletic director Frank Broyles stepped in and made sure the Cap One bowl officials knew that was not the case.

"There were some rumors going on that we didn't want to go to the Capital One," Nutt said. "We love the Cotton Bowl, we love all the bowlsWe love the Cotton Bowl, we love the people. We love all the bowls. I love all the tie-ins that we have in the SEC. We just wanted to make it clear to the Capital One Bowl that we aren't turning down bowls.

"We don't turn down bowls, especially the Capital One," Nutt added. "We wanted to get that clear and make sure that they understood that when we were there in 1998, our fans and our players had a great time there."

Nutt said the Cap One officials thus welcomed Arkansas with open arms after that.

" I really felt like after talking to some of the committee people, they loved the way we competed, played hard with a lot of heart," Nutt said. "I know our players will be very excited once they get the word. I know they were talking about it on the way home." Arkansas has the nation's fourth-best rushing offense while Wisconsin has the nation's third-best overall derfense.

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema expects a tough challenge.

"We're excited to play the University of Arkansas," Bielema said. "We knew whoever came on the plate this year was going to present an excellent opportunity (for us to play a top team). Outside of the BCS mix, I'm sure this is a very exciting match-up for everybody."

Bielema has some knowledge of Arkansas knowing that it was one of his possible foes in the bowl.

They're very, very versatile," Bielema said. "From a defensive standpoint (for us), they're going to present a lot of challenges because they have so many players that do so many things so well."

Nutt, whose team missed out on a BCS Sugar Bowl bid when it lost to No. 2 Florida 38-28 in the SEC title game on Saturday night, was hoping to go to the Sugar Bowl and thus didn't know a lot about Wisconsin yet.

"I don't (know much about Wisconsin), just a little bit from the highlights I have seen. I know they won 11 games. I'm anxious to start watching. We are excited about the match up. Their program has been very good. We know that they are big and they have an excellent running back. Anytime you win 11 games, you know you are doing something right. I'm sure they have a lot of confidence."

Wisconsin will be making a second straight trip to the Cap One Bowl after whipping Auburn 24-10 in the 2006 event.

"It tells you that as physical as our league is and you saw that score last year, they were really very physical," Nutt said of the Badgers win over the Tigers.

Arkansas will begin bowl practices on Saturday, get in "15 of 16" workouts, take five days off and then come back together in Orlando likely on Christmas night.

"I know the players would have been happy with either the Capital One or the Cotton Bowl because they are both Jan. 1 bowls. This just gives you a shot in the arm. You know you are going to have warm weather. Some of our seniors have been to the Cotton Bowl but they haven't been to Orlando. I think that was the biggest thing. Our guys really had their eyes on the BCS. They had their eyes going to the Sugar Bowl."


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