No. 19 Badgers-No. 8 Gamecocks in Capital One Bowl
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- It would be easy for both No. 8 South Carolina and No. 19 Wisconsin to dwell on the missteps this season that cost them both spots in the BCS standings.
Instead, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier and the Badgers' Gary Andersen are embracing what they believe could be one of the better non-BCS pairings when they matchup for the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl in Orlando.
"I think we all strived at beginning of the year to get to BCS game, (but) it's very difficult to do and we won nine football games," Andersen said. "It's a tremendous matchup for both teams I think...This is a great bowl game for us for so many reasons."
The game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
The Badgers (9-3) are playing in a non-BCS bowl for the first time in three seasons following three consecutive appearances in the Rose Bowl.
Wisconsin lost those games, though, and will be looking for its first bowl win under Andersen.
The Badgers will be appearing in their 12th-consecutive bowl game, a streak that includes a 3-1 record in four Orlando bowl games.
They climbed as high as No. 15 in the BCS standings, but had their season stunted by early-season losses to Arizona State and Ohio State and loss to Penn State in their regular-season finale.
Andersen said though he doesn't know Spurrier personally, he is well aware of what kind of opponent to expect when they meet up with the Gamecocks.
"From afar really, I understand what coach has done and the career he's had. He's meant a lot to college football for a number of years. He's had unbelievably successful teams and does again this season," Andersen said. "It will be special. I don't think anybody can tell you you're gonna line up against coach Spurrier and it won't be a special experience for all of us who are involved."
South Carolina (10-2) won its final five games of the season, including double-overtime win over then unbeaten Missouri. It helped salvage a season that was beset by a loss to Georgia and loss to Tennessee in a game that saw quarterback Connor Shaw go down with an injury.
The Gamecocks are making their second Capital One Bowl appearance in three seasons, having beaten Nebraska in the 2012 edition of the game.
South Carolina has a 6-12 bowl record, but has won two-straight bowl games over Big Ten opposition, defeating Nebraska in 2012 and Michigan in 2013.
The Badgers are 11-13 all time in bowl games and 2-0 in the Capital One Bowl, defeating Auburn in 2006 and Arkansas in 2007.
South Carolina is also the only team to beat Fiesta Bowl-bound UCF, rallying in the final three quarters to claim a three-point victory. They also have a win over Clemson, which is playing Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.
Spurrier said he takes little consolation in beating teams that made to the BCS, though.
"Nobody said it's supposed to be fair, you know that college football isn't all that fair," Spurrier told reporters at news conference in Columbia. "But really, a BCS bowl game or the Capital One Bowl what's the difference, a little bit more money goes to the school and to the conference. Going to a major bowl, a BCS bowl I guess there's some status in it.
"We've beaten two teams that are going to BCS bowls but they've earned it and they deserve to go and that's just the way our system works."
Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower