By Raymond Rolak | Exclusive for CNBNews
DALLAS-- Both teams excel at the skill positions and have explosive scoring potential. The game will be determined by the depth of the Wisconsin line play pitted against the offensive minded enthusiasm of undefeated Western Michigan University. This will determine the 2017 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic title. The Badgers will meet the Broncos in the 81st edition, in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium on Monday, January 2.
This is the first Cotton Bowl Classic for either team. Wisconsin (10-3) and WMU (13-0) have met four times previously, all in Madison and with the Badgers leading the all-time series 3–1. The most recent meeting was on August 31, 2000, when Wisconsin defeated the Broncos, 19–7.
It is a classic Big Ten and Mid-American Conference matchup, for respect. The contest is providing many valid quarreling points. Western Michigan gets some bragging rights because of their Big Ten wins over Illinois and Northwestern.
“I’m excited for our players to have the opportunity to be a part of a game with the long and storied history of the Cotton Bowl”, said Paul Chryst, Wisconsin head coach. “This game has featured a number of great programs and great players throughout the years and we are proud to now have a chance to be a part of that history.”
P. J. Fleck, Western Michigan Head Football Coach said in the pregame hype, “We are very honored and very humbled to be a part of the Cotton Bowl. Our goal all season was to take it one game at a time and this game will be no different. Coach Chryst has done a great job. This is a very talented Wisconsin team, and we’ve got a lot to prepare for. Row the boat, and we’ll see you in Arlington, Texas.” WMU’s football slogan, ‘Row the Boat’, is their pulling together style of play, created by Fleck.
The Broncos are led by senior wide receiver Corey Davis, who became the all-time Football Bowl Subdivision receiver in yards with 5,068 yards. He is the only player in FBS history with 300-plus catches, 5,000-plus yards, and 50-plus receiving touchdowns.
Wisconsin prides itself on winning games in the trenches. There are few programs anywhere in the nation with better and consistent offensive line play. Wisconsin is 17-4 in their last 21 games dating back to last season. They can wear down the Broncos by instituting a strong running game and subbing often. Senior running back Corey Clement has rushed for 100-plus yards in seven of the Badgers’ last eight games which are tops in the Big Ten.
The game will be televised on ESPN at noon CT and 1:00 p.m. ET.
Wisconsin lineman to have surgery.
Wisconsin starting left tackle Ryan Ramcyzk will undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip after the Badgers face Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl Classic.
Ramczyk’s recovery could take four months. Currently a redshirt junior, the UW-Stevens Point transfer is considering jumping to the NFL a year early. The surgery would prevent him from working out for NFL teams before the draft. This could prevent him from moving up on some draft lists. He has the size, being 6’6” and 314 in weight truly will help his stock. Ramczyk said previously, “Everything goes by so quick. We’re already on to the bowl game now. I just wanted to learn the system and get better as a player.”
His biggest asset is his athleticism. He further went on to say, “I’ve got to do that and see what’s the pros, what’s the cons, and weigh all that and see what the surgery -- if I have to have it -- see what that’s about, how long I could be out.”