Capital One Bowl notebook

Auburn, Wisconsin play for respect, 10 wins

ORLANDO, Fla. — There was enough talk about respect here today that Aretha Franklin could have made a guest appearance.

The Auburn Tigers received scant respect leading into this season after a perfect outing a year ago.

But now, leading into Monday's Capital One Bowl, they are getting all of the respect in the world, while the odds-makers and analysts refuse to give Wisconsin much of a chance.

"Both teams are going out with something to prove as far as the respect thing," Auburn linebacker Travis Williams said.

As a result, the Tigers expect Wisconsin to play with a chip on its shoulder as it looks to prove the doubters wrong.

"It's tough not to get the respect, but you just go out there and play the game," Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox said. "You've got to have a chip on your shoulder when you go out there, and not get too aggressive and just play your game and let that do the talking."

Auburn knows the feeling because it was in the same spot just five months ago. Coming off a 13-0 season which saw them snubbed from the national title game, nobody was giving the Tigers the credit they felt they deserved.

They had lost two prolific running backs in Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown—both top 10 picks in the NFL draft—along with signal-caller Jason Campbell and senior defensive back Carlos Rogers.

They all but proved their skeptics right with a 23-14 season-opening loss to Georgia Tech.

But since then, the Tigers have gone almost nowhere but up. After the opening-day loss, they have one nine of their last 10 games, including victories over two top-10 teams in the final two weeks of the season.

"We didn't get the respect that I thought we deserved," Cox said. "We struggled in our first game, but the rest of the season we improved."

Auburn's only loss after the opener was a 20-17 overtime heart-breaker to then-No. 7 LSU in which Auburn watched its kicker, junior John Vaughn, miss five field goals.

So Wisconsin doesn't have to tell Auburn anything about disrespect, even though the Badgers are getting their fair share of it these days.

Wisconsin is a 10.5 to 11-point underdog in the Capital One Bowl according to

"Obviously a lot of people [think we're] underdogs," junior tailback Brian Calhoun said. "Some people are not giving us credit, so really there's no pressure on us, and we can go out and do what we need to do."

10th win on the line

Though there is a laundry list of things to play for in Monday's Capital One Bowl—pride, respect, sending UW head coach Barry Alvarez out with a win, an SEC/Big Ten matchup—the number 10 seems to be ingrained in the players' minds.

With UW at 9-3 and Auburn at 9-2, both teams will be looking for the ever-important 10th win.

Wisconsin started the season 9-0 a year ago only to drop its last three contests and miss the 10-win mark.

"Obviously it's Coach Alvarez's last season, last game, but I think also what's important is it [gives us a chance] to win a 10th game and that really puts us in the upper-class of the teams around the country," Calhoun said. "To win 10 games in Coach Alvarez's last year, and to win this game is really important for us to send him out on a good note."

Williams said that the conference battle was not something that the Tigers think about, but rather the 10-win mark is what is important to them as well.

"I think it's more about trying to get to 10 wins," Williams said. "I think the SEC versus Big Ten is for the reporters. Our focus is facing Wisconsin and trying to go out with a ‘W'."

And while last year the Tigers were playing for a 13th win at this point in the season, getting the 10th win this year seems just as important.

"This year we're playing for our 10th win, and there is a big difference between 10 wins and nine wins," Cox said. "It'd be a big plus to get that 10th win."

Badgers given day off

The Badgers got the day off of practice Thursday, but will resume with a normal game-week routine starting again Friday.

"We want to time it out and put it in a way that climaxes our guys before the bowl game," defensive coordinator Bret Bielema said. "We practiced well the first couple days, but it was an opportunity for them to get their legs back under them."

With the game on Monday, the Badgers will now consider Friday's practice to be like a Wednesday practice of a normal week during the rest of the season.

"We'll basically go in and have a Wednesday practice, a Thursday practice and a Friday practice," Bielema said.

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