A battle of top teams from the Big Ten and Big 12 collide on Tuesday in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. The Wisconsin Badgers (6-6) meet up with the Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-5) in a showdown in the desert. The bowl matchup is the first time these two teams will play each other in program history.
The kick-off is slated for 10:15 p.m. EST inside Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. Wisconsin is a 3.5-point favorite, and the over/under total is set at 44.5 points.
What to Know – Wisconsin Badgers
The season didn’t go as planned for the Badgers, who let go of head coach Paul Chryst midway through the year and closed out the season under defensive coordinator turned interim head coach Jim Leonhard. Wisconsin has hired former Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell to lead the program moving forward.
Wisconsin’s offense scored 26.5 points per game and averaged 362.8 yards of total offense. On defense, the Badgers held opponents to 20.5 points and 305.4 yards of total offense per game.
Starting quarterback Graham Mertz hit the transfer portal and won’t be suiting up in the bowl game for the Badgers. That leaves inexperienced backup quarterbacks Chase Wolf and Myles Burkett to handle the snaps. Wolf and Burkett combined for just 11 snaps during the regular season.
The Badgers were 5-7 against the spread this year with a 1-4 mark ATS away from Madison. Wisconsin is just 5-10 ATS over its previous 15 contests.
What to Know – Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State won six of its first seven games to start the season but fell off as the year progressed, losing four of its remaining five. The Cowboys finished with a losing record in the Big 12 but returned to a bowl game for the 17th season in a row.
The Cowboys averaged 31.8 points per game thanks to an offense that generated 415.5 yards of total offense. Oklahoma State’s defense surrendered 29.3 points and 440.8 yards of offense to opposing teams.
Okie State will also be without its quarterback for the bowl game as longtime starter Spencer Sanders elected to find a new home. The Cowboys also lost starting running back Dominic Richardson to the transfer portal.
Oklahoma State finished the season with a 6-6 mark ATS and 1-4 record ATS over its final five contests. The Cowboys are 6-0 ATS in their previous six bowl games.
The Pick is In
There are a lot of question marks surrounding this battle for both sides, the biggest being who we will see under center for the Badgers and Cowboys. Don’t expect a lot of points scored with a handful of backups taking snaps, which gives us confidence in Oklahoma State.
Wisconsin’s offense had trouble all season finding the endzone, and it will be even harder without Mertz under center. The Cowboys put up enough points to win this one straight up.
The Pick: Oklahoma State Cowboys +3.5