The Capital One and Champs Sports bowls will feature a pair of top-flight matchups this year, and as the games approach, players from the schools involved are garnering attention with both national and conference awards. In addition, ESPN personality Kirk Herbstreit last night called the Capital One Bowl his choice as this year’s “most intriguing” bowl game.
“It’s Darren McFadden, the most electrifying player in college football, against a big, strong Wisconsin team led by P.J. Hill and John Stocco,” said Herbstreit on the December 14th SportsCenter.
The Capital One Bowl (Jan. 1, 1:00 p.m.) will feature McFadden, the Heisman Trophy runner-up and this year’s Doak Walker Award recipient as well as two other Razorbacks (OT Tony Ugoh and C Jonathan Luigs) who earned Associated Press All-America mention this year.
The Hogs’ opponent, Wisconsin, features one of the biggest offensive lines in college football – it averages 6-7, 319 pounds – a group led by this year’s Outland Trophy winner Joe Thomas. Thomas was also a first team All-America pick by the AP and helped lead the way for Hill, the 2006 Big Ten Freshman of the Year who ran for over 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns this season.
Wisconsin’s first year head coach, Bret Bielema – who was in town Wednesday for the Capital One Bowl Contract Signing Luncheon — was named Big Ten Coach of the Year this season.
The Champs Sports Bowl (Dec. 29, 8:00 p.m.) is not without its share of honorees as Maryland’s Josh Wilson was yesterday named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s recipient of the Jim Tatum Award, an honor bestowed upon the league’s top senior student-athlete. Wilson, a senior cornerback, is also the nation’s 10th-leading kick returner, averaging over 28 yards per return.
Tickets are still available for both games through all Ticketmaster outlets, including www.ticketmaster.com. The Champs Sports Bowl kicks off at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 29, and the Capital One Bowl kicks off just 65 hours later, at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 1, 2007. Both games will be played in Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium – the only stadium in the country to host two bowl games in such a short span of time.