The Miami Hurricanes will venture from South Beach to the Bronx as they take on the Wisconsin Badgers in this year’s Pinstripe Bowl. In a rematch of last year’s Orange Bowl, which was won by Wisconsin 34-24, the Hurricanes are favored by three points with an over/under of 47.5 points.
Miami did not have the season they envisioned after last year’s 10-win campaign. The ‘Canes struggled to find their rhythm offensively amidst a never-ending quarterback controversy. Before Miami finished the season with back-to-back wins to get to 7-5, they lost four straight games, preventing them from winning a wide-open ACC Coastal division.
Wisconsin can certainly identify with Miami’s situation. The Badgers began the season ranked no. 4 in the country and had hopes of reaching the College Football Playoff. However, they never looked the part of an elite team, going 4-4 down the stretch and finishing 7-5 despite playing in a mediocre Big Ten West.
Always a Plan B
With Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook sidelined with concussion symptoms, the Badgers will stick with sophomore Jack Coan at quarterback against Miami. Coan is actually from Long Island, so playing a Yankee Stadium will be a homecoming for him. He saw action in four games late in the season with rather mixed results. He doesn’t appear comfortable taking shots downfield, which limits the Wisconsin offense, although he was efficient during the team’s triple-overtime win over Purdue late in the year.
Fortunately for the Badgers, they have a running game capable of carrying the team. Jonathan Taylor finished the season 11 yards shy of the 2,000-yard mark. Backups Taiwan Deal and Garret Groshek weren’t too bad either. However, they’ll be facing a Miami defense that allowed just 3.3 yards per carry during the season. The Hurricanes also know that they can focus on stopping the run and challenge Coan to beat them with his arm.
Back to the Beginning
As mentioned, the Hurricanes struggled to settle on a quarterback all season. Despite sitting out the final three games of the regular season, it appears Miami is going back to senior Malik Rosier, who began the season as the starter. Rosier was up and down last year as the starter, but he was downright awful for much of 2018. However, he has at least shown in the past that he’s a capable dual-threat quarterback who can be a handful for opposing defenses.
Miami will surely prefer the running back tandem of Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas to do the heavy lifting. Rosier is also capable of being a factor in the running game. The Hurricanes will also be playing a Wisconsin defense that looked vulnerable late in the season. However, the Badgers seemed to have a few more problems defending the pass than the run.
The temperature for this game could be a little cold, as could the offenses for both sides. Neither side can rely on their quarterback, which will force both offenses to pound the ball on the ground. Such a game should favor Wisconsin, who has the better back in Taylor. Bet on Wisconsin at least beating the 3-point spread against Miami.