The Wisconsin Badgers are now 15-14 in their bowl history after last night’s 34-24 victory over the Miami Hurricanes at the Orange Bowl.
The bowl game was the 11th bowl game the Badgers have played in the state of Florida since 1995.
Wisconsin has played in the Hall of Fame Bowl once (1995), the Outback Bowl four times (1998, 2005, 2008 and 2015), the Capital One Bowl three times (2006, 2007 and 2014), the Champs Sports Bowl twice (2008 and 2009) and now the Orange Bowl (2017).
The Badgers have now beaten the Hurricanes twice in bowl games (the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl and the 2017 Orange Bowl).
The bowl victory was the fourth straight victory for the Badgers and their third consecutive bowl win under Paul Chryst, who took over the head coaching duties in 2015. Chryst now has an overall record of 34-7 in three seasons (10-3, 11-3 and 13-1) in Madison, which includes bowl wins now in the Holiday Bowl, Cotton Bowl and now the Orange Bowl.
The run of success that the Badgers have had in bowl games started when Barry Alvarez arrived on the scene as head coach at Wisconsin in 1990. Up until that point in time, the Badgers were 1-5 in bowl games.
Alvarez and the rest of his coaching staff built a program that went 118-73-4 in from 1990 through 2005, which includes three Big Ten titles, three Rose Bowl wins and an overall bowl record of 8-3.
Alvarez later became an interim head coach of the Badgers for both the 2013 Rose Bowl (20-14 loss) and the 2015 Outback Bowl (34-31 win) to put his overall record at 119-74-4 and 9-4 in bowl games.
Alvarez is now athletic director at Wisconsin, a position he took in 2004. Alvarez served in a dual role as head coach/athletic director in 2004 and 2005 before he just remained as athletic director since 2006.
Alvarez has hired three head coaches during his time as AD. First it was Bret Bielema (70-28), who coached the Badgers from 2006 through 2012. After that came a two-year period (2013 and 2014) with Gary Anderson (19-8). Alvarez then hired Chryst in December of 2014 to become head coach for Wisconsin.
I have gone to six of the bowl games that the Badgers played in the Sunshine State. It started in 1995 at the Hall of Fame Bowl when Wisconsin took on the Duke Blue Devils.
Because I was a college buddy of defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove of the Badgers, I was able to see the Badgers work out at Tampa Stadium in practice a day before the game.
A couple of friends and I also sat next to the coaches’ wives at the actual game as Wisconsin beat Duke 34-20.
That was the first game in which Cosgrove was the defensive coordinator for the Badgers under Alvarez. He replaced Dan McCarney, who had left to become head coach at Iowa State.
Cosgrove stayed on as defensive coordinator through the 2003 season. He coordinated those great defenses on the 1998 and 1999 Wisconsin teams that won back-to-back Big Ten titles and the Rose Bowl.
My fondest memory of watching the Badgers at a bowl game was being at the team hotel (Westin Tampa Harbour Island) after the Hall of Fame Bowl and smoking a victory cigar with a number of the coaches (including Alvarez and Cosgrove) overlooking the Hillsborough River from the balcony.
Here is the complete history of the 29 bowl games Wisconsin has played in:
- 1953 Rose Bowl: USC 7, Wisconsin 0
- 1960 Rose Bowl: Washington 44, Wisconsin 8
- 1963 Rose Bowl: USC 42, Wisconsin 37
- 1981 Garden State Bowl: Tennessee 28, Wisconsin 21
- 1982 Independence Bowl: Wisconsin 14, Kansas State 3
- 1984 Hall of Fame Classic Bowl: Kentucky 20, Wisconsin 19
- 1994 Rose Bowl: Wisconsin 21, UCLA 16
- 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl: Wisconsin 34, Duke 20
- 1996 Copper Bowl: Wisconsin 38, Utah 10
- 1998 Outback Bowl: Georgia 33, Wisconsin 6
- 1999 Rose Bowl: Wisconsin 38, UCLA 31
- 2000 Rose Bowl: Wisconsin 17, Stanford 9
- 2000 Sun Bowl: Wisconsin 21, UCLA 20
- 2002 Alamo Bowl: Wisconsin 31, Colorado 28
- 2003 Music City Bowl: Auburn 28, Wisconsin 14
- 2005 Outback Bowl: Georgia 24, Wisconsin 21
- 2006 Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin 24, Auburn 10
- 2007 Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin 17, Arkansas 14
- 2008 Outback Bowl: Tennessee 21, Wisconsin 17
- 2008 Champs Sports Bowl: Florida State 42, Wisconsin 13
- 2009 Champs Sports Bowl: Wisconsin 20, Miami (FL) 14
- 2011 Rose Bowl: TCU 21, Wisconsin 19
- 2012 Rose Bowl: Oregon 45, Wisconsin 38
- 2013 Rose Bowl: Stanford 20, Wisconsin 14
- 2014 Capital One Bowl: South Carolina 34, Wisconsin 24
- 2015 Outback Bowl: Wisconsin 34, Auburn 31
- 2015 Holiday Bowl: Wisconsin 23, USC 21
- 2017 Cotton Bowl: Wisconsin 24, Western Michigan 16
- 2017 Orange Bowl: Wisconsin 34, Miami (FL) 24