Still, two of the last three undefeated teams in the nation have a decent consolation prize this year, a trip to the Orange Bowl in one of the big New Year's Six games.Orange Bowl – Wisconsin Badgers vs. Miami HurricanesDate and Time
: Saturday, December 30, 2017, 8 p.m. ETLocation
: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FLOpening Orange Bowl Odds
: Wisconsin -7Orange Bowl TV Coverage
Wisconsin probably got a raw deal all season long until right at the very end. The Badgers had a relatively weak strength of schedule for sure, but they won their first 12 games on the scheduled and proved to be able to hang in there against a great team like Ohio State.
When you think of the Badgers, you think of a slow and plodding team. That said, this year's team was flying at the line of scrimmage this year and snapping the ball far faster than you might expect, a true testament to the play of Jonathan Taylor in the backfield.
Alex Hornibrook still has his warts for sure, and he showed them at the end of the Big Ten Championship Game against Ohio State when he just flat out couldn't complete simple passes from behind.
Taylor, though, is a stud in the making. He's just a freshman, and he ran for 1,847 yards and 13 touchdowns this season, averaging 6.8 yards per carry. If this young man stays in Madison for the next few years, the Badgers aren't going to have any problems running the football.
Mark Richt's first season in Miami couldn't have reasonably gone much better than it did. The team found a way to win a lot of games late on, and it got to 10-0 before losing to Pittsburgh and Clemson at the end of the season.
The Canes came a long way this season defensively thanks to the now-iconic Turnover Chain. They led the nation in forced turnovers through 10 games, but in the last two games of the year against Pitt and Clemson, they only had a total of three takeaways.
Sophomore Travis Homer struggled down the stretch, too. Homer took over for an injured Mark Walton early in the season and was incredibly successful in the backfield. In his last two games, though, he totaled just 21 carries for 53 yards, and that won't cut it for a team that needs its running game to take the pressure off of Malik Rosier and the passing attack.
Betting Trends of Note
It's interesting that Miami is a seven-point dog in this game. The Hurricanes were only +3.5 against Notre Dame at home and were -2 against Virginia Tech at home after opening up as underdogs.
Miami was favored in every other game it played this season, and the Selection Committee could have easily pointed towards a suspect strength of schedule and a lot of truly lucky victories to keep it out had it beaten Clemson in the ACC title game. The Hurricanes needed late comebacks to beat Florida State and Georgia Tech, and they really had to fight hard to fend off Syracuse and North Carolina as well.
This is perceived to be the toughest test yet for Miami, an interesting fact considering how down everyone was on Wisconsin's schedule this year. The Badgers had been favored in 20 straight games before being a three-point dog to Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
Orange Bowl Free Picks
At first glance, it seems as though Miami might be getting a lot of points here at all of the online college football sportsbooks. The Hurricanes were +12.5 against Clemson and were beaten by 35 points. You mean to tell us that Clemson would be laying less than a touchdown against Wisconsin right now? We think not.
The Badgers, though, proved to us that they belong amongst the nation's elites. The fact that they were a drive away from the CFP was enough to put them in front of Auburn in the final rankings, and that speaks some real volumes to us.
Miami is going to have a huge home field advantage here, but the Badgers still feel like the definitive better team to us.
Orange Bowl ATS Pick: Wisconsin -7 at BookMaker.eu
Orange Bowl Score Prediction: Wisconsin 34, Miami 17