You would certainly think that an 11-1 record in the Big 10 would land you a BCS bowl bid. But the conference's 11-team membership makes it impractical to have round-robin scheduling and the result is that someone often gets left out in the cold. This year, for instance, Wisconsin didn't even get a crack at Ohio State and its lone loss was to Michigan. It certainly would have been interesting to see how the Badgers and Buckeyes measured up.
Scheduling factors have often been the reason that the conference has crowned co-champions in six of the last eleven years.
As for Arkansas, the Razorbacks lost their final two games, including the SEC Championship. Those losses eliminated them from BCS bowl contention. Now, the Hogs will be trying to avoid a third straight loss that would dampen an otherwise tremendous one-year rebound from last season's 4-7 campaign.
Unfortunately, Arkansas has been faced with the distraction of three freshmen's parents complaints about their kids' role in the Razorbacks' run-oriented offense. Damian Williams, the second-leading receiver, is leaving. Tight end Ben Cleveland and quarterback Mitch Mustain have since apologized and recommitted their collegiate allegiance to Arkansas.
In a season where Arkansas had difficulty settling on a quarterback, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones each ran for over 1,000 yards. McFadden exploded for 1,558 to lead the SEC while Jones was second in the conference with 1,018 yards.
Junior Marcus Monk was the leading receiver with 949 yards, 11 TD's and a nearly 20-yard per catch average.
Mustain and Casey Dick were about equal in passing attempts, yardage and touchdowns. McFadden, however, was more consistent than either as he completed 6-of-8 passes for 3 touchdowns.
Wisconsin's Bret Bielema was named the Big Ten's Coach of the Year after his first season at the helm, replacing Badger legend Barry Alvarez who lifted the football program from the ashes.
The Badgers' P.J. Hill ran for 25 yards less than McFadden, but did so in one fewer game. Quarterback John Stocco completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 1,979 yards, 15 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions.
Defensively, Wisconsin ranked 2nd nationally in passing yards allowed. They were 3rd in yards per game and points allowed per game. However, they ranked just 20th against the run.
Wisconsin had never played in this bowl game until last season when they defeated Auburn 24-10. Now, they are making their second straight trip to Orlando.
It's also Arkansas' second appearance in the Capital One Bowl, and first since a 1999 loss to Michigan.