Wisconsin to face Western Michigan in Goodyear Cotton Bowl
MADISON, Wis. â€“ The Wisconsin football programâ€™s 15th-consecutive bowl bid will come in the 81st Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
The Badgers will face Western Michigan in the New Yearâ€™s Six matchup, which is set for noon (CT) on Jan. 2 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and airs live on ESPN. The game marks UWâ€™s first appearance in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, which dates back to 1937.
The Big Ten West Division champion, No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3 overall, 7-2 Big Ten) enters the game coming off its fourth appearance in six seasons in the Big Ten Championship Game, while No. 12 Western Michigan (13-0, 8-0 MAC) carries an undefeated record and the Mid-American Conference championship to its credit.
The game will mark Wisconsinâ€™s seventh matchup this season with a team ranked among the top 12 of the Associated Press poll.
â€œIâ€™m excited for our players to have the opportunity to be a part of a game with the long and storied history like the Cotton Bowl has,â€ UW head coach Paul Chryst said. â€œThis 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.
â€œI appreciate what our players have done to earn the right to play in this game. Western Michigan has had a tremendous year and will present a terrific challenge for us. I look forward to starting our prep and having one more opportunity with this great group of players.â€
The Badgersâ€™ run of 15 straight bowl games is the longest active streak in the Big Ten and is tied for the sixth-longest active run in the FBS. Wisconsin has ended each of the last two seasons with a win, downing Auburn in the Outback Bowl to close the 2014 season and topping USC in the Holiday Bowl to finish off the 2015 campaign.
Wisconsin and Western Michigan have met four times, with the Badgers owning a 3-1 mark vs. the Broncos. The teams last met in 2000, when No. 4 Wisconsin scored a 19-7 win at Camp Randall Stadium.
This marks the third-consecutive season â€“ but just the fourth time ever â€“ that the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic will include a Big Ten team. Michigan State played in the Cotton Bowl in each of the last two seasons, including when the game served as a College Football Playoff semifinal last year. Ohio State made the leagueâ€™s first appearance in the Cotton Bowl in 1987.
Maryland, Nebraska and Penn State also have participated in the Cotton Bowl, though prior to joining the Big Ten.