After a rocky 9-3 season, the Wisconsin Badgers will face the USC Trojans (8-5) of the Pac-12 in the 2015 Holiday Bowl.
The Badgers rocky road started with a loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide, when Wisconsin would lose running back Corey Clement in that game and for most of the season. However, the one saving grace for this team and one reason why they were able to rattle off nine wins this season was the defense. Wisconsin at a national level finished the regular season ranked first in scoring defense, third in total defense, fourth in rushing defense and sixth in passing defense.
USC has had a rocky road of its own this season. Former head coach Steve Sarkisian was fired in October, but the Trojans were able to go on a four-game win streak in the middle of the year, starting with a big win over then-No. 3 Utah at home. They ended the season with a loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
These two teams have met previously six times, with USC winning all six meetings. They have not played each other since 1966, but they did meet in the 1963 Rose Bowl which ended up being one of the greatest bowl games of all time. Both quarterbacks, Ron Vander Kelen of Wisconsin and Pete Beathard of USC, were named Rose Bowl Player of the Game. The Trojans came away with a 42-37 victory that day.
Wisconsin will play in its 14th straight bowl game, a current streak that is best in the Big Ten. It will be the first time the Badgers have not played a bowl game on or after New Year's Day since 2009 when they faced the Miami Hurricanes in the Champs Sports Bowl. Wisconsin would go on to win that game 20-14.