The Duke’s Mayo Bowl, previously known as the Belk Bowl, is scheduled for early Wednesday afternoon in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium. The Mayo Bowl certainly isn’t the biggest bowl matchup of the year or even on Wednesday. The Cotton Bowl should be an entertaining game on Wednesday night between the Florida Gators and Oklahoma Sooners.
It would have been a lot better if half of the Gators’ offense didn’t opt out of the game, but Kyle Trask is staying put for one last game at Florida. Florida will have their quarterback against the Sooners. However, he will be down several targets. If you are looking for a Cotton Bowl pick, pay attention to our college football picks page.
For early in the day, we’ll have our eyes on the Mayo Bowl in Charlotte. Wisconsin can’t be thrilled about their bowl destination. If this were a normal season, I can’t see the Badgers playing in such a low ranked bowl. They likely weren’t going to upset Ohio State to win the Big Ten or anything, but most certainly better than a .500 record.
The Badgers concluded the regular season with a paltry record of 3-3. Of course, this late start for the Big Ten really threw a wrench into everything. Ohio State essentially had an auto-ticket to the College Football Playoff regardless if they played a game or not. They could have played one game and I’m sure the committee would have found a way to get the Buckeyes in. That’s not to say Ohio State isn’t a great team, though.
Graham Mertz and Wisconsin got off to a red-hot start in 2020. They blasted Illinois away by a score of 45-7, expected, and then stomped on Michigan at the Big House, 49-11, not really expected. That was one of the worst losses for Michigan in the school’s history at Michigan Stadium. Wisconsin’s season went south following that effort, though.
They dropped close games against Northwestern, 17-7, Indiana, 14-6, and Iowa, 28-7, before getting on track to close out the season with a 20-17 win over Minnesota. Michigan didn’t play like they cared at all this season, so I don’t know if the Badgers had any “good” win this season. I will say that their defense still played well, and that unit travels to wherever they go.
4-4 Wake Forest must crack their defense to pull off the upset in the Mayo Bowl. Tough game to prepare for if you’re the Demon Deacons. Head below for our free Wake Forest vs. Wisconsin pick for December 30, 2020 in the Mayo Bowl.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Wisconsin Badgers Mayo Bowl Betting Odds:
Wake Forest vs. Wisconsin Prediction:
If Wisconsin doesn’t want to show up offensively and just want to use their defense, they might be able to beat Wake Forest in a 7-3 game. However, I’m sure we will see some signs of life from Graham Mertz and the Badgers. The Wisconsin defense was strong as expected in this shortened 2020 season. They allowed an average of 263.5 yards to lead the FBS this season.
Even in the games Wisconsin did lose, their defense played exceptionally well. Wisconsin was alive in all of their games this season. Their ability to stop the pass and run was equally strong. The Badgers’ secondary conceded an average of 169.8 passing and 93.7 rushing yards per game. They were sixth in the FBS against the run and seventh against the pass. So, if Mertz and the Badgers decide to show up offensively, this is how things could get out of hand in the Mayo Bowl.
Mertz started off blazing hot as the starter at Wisconsin on October 23. He passed for 248 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Fighting Illini in a 45-7 win. Wisconsin followed up for 49 points in a 49-11 win over Michigan on the road. Mertz passed for 2 touchdowns, while the Badgers gashed the Wolverines on the ground. There were six different ball carriers that eclipsed more than 5 yards per carry against Michigan.
The offense hit a wall thereafter, having scored just 14.5 points a game over their last four games. Mertz finished the season with 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions on 60.8% completions. He’s only a freshman and expected to have a promising career in Madison. This year was a nice warm up for him. He is not short of confidence, ala Baker Mayfield. The Demon Deacons struggled mightily on defense to end the season, so this could be an opportunity to get on track for Mertz going into the offseason.
Wake Forest allowed 53 points in a 59-53 loss against UNC, and then a 45-21 loss against an average Louisville team to close out the season. Overall, Wake Forest gave up 456.9 yards and 31.6 points a game. They were spotty against the run. Not good news against a Wisconsin team that loves to pound the ball. Freshman running back Jalen Berger is expected back for the Badgers, which should help out nicely. Berger is expected to be a major contributor over the next few years.
Sam Hartman has been steady for the Demon Deacons this season. He has passed for 10 touchdowns and 1 interception on 58.9% completions. As a junior next year, expect Hartman to continue to get better. I just find it hard to believe that he has success versus Wisconsin today, though. For all of the talk that Wisconsin isn’t going to be motivated, their defense likely shows up at least. It might not be the prettiest cover, but I think the Badgers get there to win by a couple of touchdowns.