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 (a) 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.”
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.
Wisconsin 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 a stunning loss to Penn State in their regular-season finale.
Andersen said 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 had unbelievably successful teams and does again this season,” Andersen said. South Carolina (10-2) won its final five games of the season, including a double-overtime win over then unbeaten Missouri. It helped salvage a season that was beset by a loss to Georgia and a 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 game.
South Carolina has won two bowl games in a row 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 the only team to beat Fiesta Bowl-bound Central Florida, 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.
“Nobody said it’s supposed to be fair,” Spurrier told reporters in Columbia. “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.”