The Bulldogs (9-2) opened the season as the No. 3 team in the nation and a chic pick to win the national championship. All that optimism basically ended in the fifth week of the season with a flop of a loss to Tennessee.
The Badgers (9-2) started the year ranked No. 21 and not considered
even a fringe player in the national title race, but they rolled up nine
straight wins and went from No. 20 to No. 6 in a three-week span. By
Nov. 7, Wisconsin was No. 4 in the country and one of four legitimate
Wisconsin, it turned out, was only saving its flop until the 10th week
of the season. The Badgers lost 49-14 that day to Michigan State and
followed it up with a 30-7 loss to Iowa.
"We were disappointed," Badgers quarterback John Stocco said.
any team would be. We had the opportunity to play for a championship,
and that's why you play the game. It didn't work out, but we're
definitely not disappointed to be in this bowl game. This is a great
opportunity for us, but I think everyone was a little disappointed about
the way we finished our season."
Stocco insists that disappointment is gone now that No. 16 Wisconsin
is here preparing for Saturday's Outback Bowl. And No. 8 Georgia's
players and coaches say the same thing. Still, no one here has forgotten
that the national championship is being decided another couple hours
down I-75 in Miami.
"Obviously," Georgia quarterback David Greene said,
they were in the Orange Bowl, but this is a great bowl."
The Bulldogs have insisted all week that they won't let their
disappointment affect them once they get inside Raymond James Stadium,
home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Bucanneers.
"If we weren't playing against a team we respect then maybe,"
wide receiver Reggie Brown said.
The team's work ethic and intensity have been good since it began
practice on Dec. 26, Georgia defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said.
"I don't know how they feel about being at the Outback
Bowl," he said,
"but I like their focus. I like their concentration."
Wisconsin senior free safety Jim Leonhard probably put it best when he
said: "We've all got a bad taste in our mouth with how the season ended.
We're excited to be going down to the Alamo Bowl and having a good time
and getting a win."
The Badgers played in the Alamo Bowl in 2002.
Both head coaches are trying to motivate their teams with the 10-win
milestone. The Badgers have only had three 10-win seasons in school
"That tells you how difficult it really is to get to 10,"
coach Barry Alvarez said. "Ten wins is a big deal."
Georgia is shooting for its third straight season and 15th overall
with at least 10 wins.
"The difference between eight (wins) and nine doesn't seem as
Coach Mark Richt said. "You get into double digits, and it just looks
better. It feels better. I think it's been a very good year. If you win,
it's a great year."
However, 10 wins won't make anyone wearing red and black forget the
fact that this season was supposed to end further south.
"It won't erase it," Brown said. "We didn't get there and
always going to be in the back of our head, but at least it's good that
we're disappointed in 10 wins."
Different Paths to Tampa
Dawg Post Top Stories
Dawg Post Recruiting Insider News and NotesATHENS - Chad Simmons' news and notes on this weekend's upcoming official visitors coming to UGA.
Dawg Post9:21 AM
Scout 300 WR Down to Four With One Visit LeftHONOLULU -- Four-star prospect Nico Collins, the No. 2-rated wide receiver in Alabama for the 2017 class, spoke to Scout about his recruitment, recent visit to LSU and more at the…
Scout Football8:41 AM
South: Five on Flip WatchSome of the top 2017 prospects in the South that have their names on a commitment list already may not end up on same that one February 1. Find out five to watch here...
Scout Football7:39 AM
Updated Scout 300 Trend Meter For 2017It is less than two weeks to signing day and the updated Scout 300 Trend Meter for the 2017 class takes a look at which schools are trending for each uncommitted member in the…
Scout Football6:46 AM
BIG OFFERS SENT OUT IN GEORGIA:Recruiting is picking up, and DawgPost has the latest on where the coaches were today, and what offers went out to major prospects in Georgia.
Dawg PostYesterday at 3:25 PM