MADISON – Miami coach Mark Richt was as surprised as anyone when he learned the Hurricanes’ bowl opponent.
Wisconsin? Really? Didn’t we just play those guys last season in the Orange Bowl?
“To play Wisconsin again, it’s rare to play anybody back-to-back in bowls,” Richt said Tuesday at Yankee Stadium during a news conference for the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl. “We played a great team last year and fell short. …
“When you play Wisconsin you’re playing a great team, a team that is used to winning. We’re used to winning, too.”
UW rallied for a 34-24 victory over Miami in the Orange Bowl last season to finish 13-1.
The teams, both 7-5 this season, are set to meet in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 27 at Yankee Stadium. Kickoff is 4:15 p.m. Central and the game is to be televised on ESPN.
“I think the media will probably trying to talk about payback,” Richt said. “But I think our guys are just going to be excited about the bowl experience and getting a chance to play a great team.”
Neither team expected New York to be the site of its final game this season.
UW opened No. 7 in the Amway coaches poll; Miami was one spot back at No. 8.
The Badgers finished three games behind Northwestern in the Big Ten West Division.
The Hurricanes finished in a tie for third place in the Coastal Division of the ACC, two games behind first-place Pittsburgh.
The onus is on the players from both teams to prepare as they would for a league game.
“What is beautiful about the game is it comes down to what happens between the lines,” UW coach Paul Chryst said during the news conference. “Our whole goal and objective is to get our team ready to play against a really good and talented and well-coached Miami team.
“I’m not worried about them being excited or focused on it.”
UW has several players from the New York area.
That list includes tailback Jonathan Taylor (New Jersey), wide receiver Aron Cruickshank (Brooklyn) and quarterback Jack Coan (Long Island).
“We’ve got a few players on our roster from this area but a lot of (guys) have never been here,” Chryst said. “New York is that city …you see it in the movies. You feel like you’ve been here even though you haven’t.
“I think J.T. will be like a lot of our players. You’re talking about playing in Yankee Stadium. And we know we’re playing football but it’s still one of those iconic stadiums.
“It really doesn’t matter if you’re from the east coast or not. It’s one of those opportunities. And then when you get to do that against a team and a program that you respect a ton, our guys will be excited.”
According to bowl officials, players from both teams will have the opportunity to tour the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, take in the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall, ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange and visit the 9/11 Memorial.
“Of course, a visit to New York would not be complete without going to the 9/11 Memorial,” said Mark Holtzman, executive director of the Pinstripe Bowl. “That changed the landscape of New York forever.
“It is important that they see. We should never forget that.”