College Football

2017 Cotton Bowl Classic for Bragging Rights in the Midwest

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DALLAS– There can be only one winner. Both teams excel but it will be the depth of Wisconsin’s line play pitted against the offensive minded enthusiasm of undefeated Western Michigan. It is for the 2017 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic title. The game will be a contrast of playing styles as they meet in the 81st edition, in Arlington, Texas on Monday, January 2, at AT&T Stadium.

Head Coach P.J. Fleck and the Western Michigan University football team has the “Row the Boat” slogan pulling everyone in the same direction. It resulted in an undefeated season. They were MAC champions but they haven’t faced anyone as consistent as Wisconsin has been over the last two seasons. – Photo by Lars Hjelmroth, Rolco Sports & Entertainment Network

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 respect matchup. The contest is providing many valid bickering points. The Broncos get some bragging rights because of 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 like the Cotton Bowl has,” 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.”

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, and 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 running and subbing often. Senior running back Corey Clement has rushed for 100-plus yards in seven of the Badgers’ last eight games which is tops in the Big Ten.

The game will be televised on ESPN at noon CT and 1:00 p.m. ET.

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