Kansas vs Wisconsin: A Back to The Future Orange Bowl

In a tribute to how amazing the 2008 Orange Bowl victory was for the Kansas football team, I’ve decided to take them 10 years into the future and see how they’d match-up against this year’s Orange Bowl victor, Wisconsin.

 

“I felt like Deion!”

Let’s take a look …

 

Quarterback –

  • Wisconsin – Alex Hornibrook
    • Completions/Attempts: 198/318 (62.3%)
    • Yards: 2,644
    • Touchdowns: 25
    • Interceptions: 15
  • Kansas – Todd Reesing
    • Completions/Attempts: 276/446 (61.9%)
    • Yards: 3,486
    • Touchdowns: 33
    • Interceptions: 7

Advantage: KANSAS

 

Running Back –

  • Wisconsin – Jonathan Taylor
    • Yards: 1,977
    • Touchdowns: 13
    • Per Rush Average: 6.6
  • Kansas – Brandon McAnderson
    • Yards: 1,125
    • Touchdowns: 16
    • Per Rush Average: 5.9

Advantage: WISCONSIN

 

Wide Receiver –

  • Wisconsin – Quintez Cephus
    • Receptions: 30
    • Yards: 501
    • Touchdowns: 6
  • Kansas – Marcus Henry
    • Receptions: 54
    • Yards: 1,014
    • Touchdowns: 10

Advantage: KANSAS

 

Tight End –

  • Wisconsin – Troy Fumagalli
    • Receptions: 46
    • Yards: 547
    • Touchdowns: 4
  • Kansas – Derek Fine
    • Receptions: 46
    • Yards: 394
    • Touchdowns: 4

Advantage: WISCONSIN (Barely)

 

Total Offense –

  • Wisconsin
    • Yards Per Game: 415
    • Points Per Game: 33.8
    • Offensive Efficiency: 70.1 (21st out of 130)
  • Kansas
    • Yards Per Game: 480
    • Points Per Game: 42.8
    • Offensive Efficiency: 74.1 (11th out of 119)

Advantage: KANSAS

 

Total Defense –

  • Wisconsin
    • Yards Given Up Per Game: 262
    • Points Allowed Per Game: 13.9
    • Turnover Margin: -0.4
    • Defensive Efficiency: 87.0 (4th out of 130)
  • Kansas
    • Yards Given Up Per Game: 317
    • Points Allowed Per Game: 16.4
    • Turnover Margin: -1.6
    • Defensive Efficiency: 79.2 (7th out of 119)

Advantage: WISCONSIN

 

Special Teams Efficiency –

  • Wisconsin
    • 57.2 (31st out of 130)
  • Kansas
    • 58.0 (36th out of 119)

Advantage: KANSAS

 

Strength of Schedule –

  • Wisconsin
    • 6.24 (14th out of 130)
  • Kansas
    • -1.24 (69th out of 119)

Advantage: WISCONSIN

 

From the looks of it, this would be a pretty good match-up. Kansas would have the edge in QB, WR, Total Offense, and Special Teams, where Wisconsin would have the edge in RB, TE, Total Defense, and Strength of Schedule.

But, how would this game go down?

Oddly enough, this looks like a similar match-up for Kansas when they won the Orange Bowl in 2008. Wisconsin has a strong defense and is more known for running the ball. Kansas on the other hand runs a spread offense and is known for putting up a lot of points.

Having said that, and I’m trying not to be too bias, I think Kansas would hold the overall advantage. Their defense was pretty tough against the run all year, giving up less than 100 yards per game and only 3.1 yards per carry. I think they would stand strong against Wisconsin’s run and blitz the gaps to rush the QB into quick decisions. I think Harris and Talib would benefit most from this and end up with an interception a piece as they did in the 2008 Orange Bowl. Also, with KU’s high powered offense it would force Wisconsin to keep up and throw more than they usually do, which would put them out of their element.

Score prediction:

I think Kansas would come out to an early lead and surprise Wisconsin because they’re not used to that style of spread offense. Eventually, Wisconsin would come crawling back with their tough-nose style of football as they ran the ball and slowed down Todd Reesing, but KU’s defense would come up with a key turnover to salt the game away.

Kansas wins, 30-24.

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