The Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-5) and the Wisconsin Badgers (6-6) are historic college football programs with great history. The Cowboys and the Badgers began the 2022 college football season as serious contenders for a conference championship. Inconsistencies, coaching changes, and injuries ruined a chance to maintain a high level of success for either team. Oklahoma State and Wisconsin will look to finish their 2022 season on a positive note in the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona.
2022 Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma State
This will be the first time in program history that the Cowboys and the Badgers will meet on the field. This game will be impacted significantly by the number of key players on both sides opting out either through the Transfer Portal or declaring early for the 2023 NFL Draft. There are key storylines created throughout the entire season. For Oklahoma State, much of the attention of the football program is the dying Bedlam Rivalry with Oklahoma. Wisconsin fired Paul Chryst as head coach after a 2-3 and then Jim Leonhard coached his last game as defensive coordinator/interim head coach.
In a season of disappointing results, Oklahoma State and Wisconsin are looking for one final push for a strong off-season in a future that possesses hope. Wisconsin comes into this game with an efficient and talented defense as always. Oklahoma State will look to add some explosiveness to their offense, something they have been lacking all season.
Where: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
When: December 27th, 2022, 10:15 PM Eastern
Line: Wisconsin – 3.5
Wisconsin and Oklahoma State have tough opt puts, especially at quarterback
Both Oklahoma State and Wisconsin are coming into this game with some of their star players entering the NCAA Transfer Portal or declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft. Among the top offensive players for both teams are Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders and Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz. This will be a big loss for both offenses as they are the playbook leaders of the teams.
Sanders is a talented dual-threat quarterback for the Cowboys offense that likes to win matchups. Sanders has thrown for 2,642 yards, 17 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, and a 128.3 quarterback rating. He also rushed for 391 yards and 8 touchdowns. To make matters worse for the Cowboys’ offense, their leading rusher in Dominic Richardson (149 carries for 543 yards and 8 touchdowns) has also entered the Transfer Portal. The Cowboys will likely turn to freshman Garrett Rangel, who has been more miss than hit in his numerous reps this season. This game against a stellar Badgers’ defense will be a tough task for the young freshman quarterback, but it will be a good start for the potential new starter at Oklahoma State.
Wisconsin (77th in points per game – 26.5) isn’t as proficient of a scoring offense as Oklahoma State’s (40th in points per game – 31.8). The history of the Badgers’ offense continues to be a ground-and-pound rushing offense with this season seeing running back Braelon Allen. Wisconsin still relied on Mertz to lead and maintain the offense as the game manager. Mertz has passed for 2,136 yards, 19 touchdowns, 19 interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 135. Wisconsin will likely start senior Chase Wolf for this game as Mertz and Deacon Hill have entered the transfer portal.
The defense will be the difference-maker
The biggest key of the game on Tuesday will be which team’s defense can handle the intensity of the opposing offenses. Wisconsin will have a serious edge on the defensive side of the ball. The Badgers come into this game with the 24th-ranked scoring defense (20.5) and the 12th-ranked total defense (305.3) total yards allowed per game). Wisconsin has been a historic program with developing elite defenses, but the biggest reason for their success is coach Leonhard. The Badgers will have to do so without star linebacker Nick Herbig, defensive tackle Keeanu Benton, and several other defenders who have declared for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Oklahoma State is far from the same level of success on the defensive side of the ball. They have seen some success at stopping the run this season as they rank 95th in rush defense (171.3). Wisconsin’s best weapon on offense is its running back Braelon Allen. In 11 games of his young sophomore season, Allen rushed for 1,126 yards and 10 touchdowns on 208 carries. Oklahoma State’s defense will have its hands full with the dynamic running abilities of Allen. To make matters worse for the Cowboys, their leading tackler Mason Cobb has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal. Cobb leads the team in total tackles (96) and tackles for loss (13).
Guaranteed Rate Bowl between Oklahoma State and Wisconsin:
If both teams had their players from the transfer portal or preparing for the 2023 NFL Draft, this game would one of the most anticipated matchups in the postseason. While this game is affected by the business of the player’s destination, this game will still have serious implications for the future of the teams. Oklahoma State and Wisconsin will come into this game with different styles of offenses. On the defensive side of the ball, Wisconsin will have the edge based on the system and development of players. The Cowboys can find momentum by establishing a rhythm against the new starters of the Badgers. The best offensive player of the game plays in the backfield of the Badgers.
Last Word On College Football has complete coverage of the bowl games this season.