The SEC Western Division champion Arkansas Razorbacks (10-3, 7-1 SEC) have accepted the invite to play the Badgers in the Capital One Bowl on January 1, 2007.
"I am excited about the opportunity to play Arkansas, a team who overall went 7-1 in the SEC conference and had a very similar season to ours," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "I am sure Coach Nutt is extremely excited about his opportunity as well, because I think a lot of people doubted what kind of result his team would have and they proved everybody wrong."
Arkansas is lead by sophomore Heisman Trophy candidate Darren McFadden. McFadden is fifth in the nation in running, racking up 1,558 yards and 14 touchdowns, and has been a tough tailback to stop in the Southeastern Conference.
"He looks to be a powerful runner, good speed and great vision," Bielema said. "What jumps out at me when you watch what he does is that he's similar to P.J. [Hill]. He has a great burst as well as be able to knock people down in the process. It's going to be a unique challenge for our defense and we're going to have to tackle effectively."
In addition to McFadden, Razorback tailback Felix Jones has also provided a punch, rushing for over 1,000 yards and being a catching option out of the back field. Regardless, Arkansas has a variety of players that can catch and run the ball with tremendous speed.
"From a defensive standpoint, they are going present a lot of challenges because they have so many players that do so many things so well," Bielema said. "They have impressive rushing numbers in a lot of different people's hands. Obviously, McFadden is a key to their success but they do it with a lot of different people."
With Wisconsin climbing both national polls and the BCS polls this week, the debate continues on the fairness of the BCS system, which states that no more than two teams from any conference can partake in the BCS bowl games. With Wisconsin enjoying one of their best seasons in the program's history and doing it in the same season that Michigan and Ohio State compete for a national title, the question is raised as whether or not another amendment to the BCS system is in order.
"I think ever since the system has been introduced to college football, there have been different things that pop up every year," Bielema said. "People were saying after the Penn State game that there would be a new clock management rule called the ‘Bielema Rule' that may go into place next year. Maybe next year there will be a ‘Wisconsin Rule' that comes into effect that allows three teams from one conference, if they're ranked in the top five or seven in the BCS. We knew what the rules were going in and we have to abide by that."
Even so, Bielema, his staff and the Wisconsin players are excited to be returning to Orlando to take on another top-notch SEC team. In doing so, they expect even more Wisconsin fans to make the trip than in past years.
"I'm excited for the opportunity to go back down to Orlando and prove what we do best," Bielema said. "So many people have grabbed me at basketball games or where ever I am walking around to say, ‘See you in Orlando.' I've got to believe there are going to great numbers from the ticket sales to the way they supported us in Camp Randall this year, I've got to believe there will be a lot of red down there.
"Well, everybody is going to be wearing red anyway," he added. "It's just important that they have that ‘W' on their shirt instead of an ‘A.'"