Despite a coaching change, an ongoing search for assistant coaches, and a late push to complete the 2023 recruiting class, the Wisconsin Badgers (6-6 overall) are also busy preparing for an upcoming bowl game. Bowl-eligible for a 21st straight season, the Badgers learned their bowl fate on Sunday.
Wisconsin has accepted an invitation to participate in the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Pheonix, Arizona.
The game will pit the Badgers against Oklahoma State (7-5 overall). Wisconsin has won seven of its last eight bowl game appearances, and this will mark the first postseason matchup between the two schools in football.
Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh said this about the Badgers heading to Phoenix in a press release shared by UW:
"I'd like to thank everyone at the Guaranteed Rate Bowl for selecting us. Bowl games are always special events for our fans. We have a tremendous following of Badgers in the Phoenix area and I'm sure they will carry on the tradition of incredible support we've enjoyed for many years at bowl games."
The Oklahoma State Cowboys come into the game losers of four of their last five games. For the Badgers, the team most recently lost to Minnesota in the season finale and beat Nebraska narrowly in the game prior.
With both teams underperforming this season, the Guaranteed Rate Bowl should provide a good matchup. Wisconsin fans will have an opportunity to see how the team responds after the hiring of new head coach Luke Fickell.
There are still questions concerning who will officially coach the bowl game for the Badgers, though Fickell noted in his introductory press conference that he will have an active coaching role, saying:
"We don't know exactly what that will look like, moving in the next three weeks, but I promised them this, that I will be part of it, coaching in some way, shape or form. We will figure out what that means. If that means I am coaching the punter or the nose guards, I am going to be around these guys, I'm going to have the ability to coach and get to know them to build that trust, respect, and love."
The expectation is that Fickell will lead the team over the next month during bowl preparation, and potentially be the head coach on the sidelines come December 27.
The upcoming bowl practices and time together will go a long way in helping the Badgers build towards next season and begin to implement some of the changes that Fickell envisions for the program, namely in the strength department. Additionally, bowl practices are a key opportunity for young players to gain experience for a bigger role in the future.
Coach Fickell had this to say about Wisconsin's inclusion in the bowl game in a press release shared by UW:
"Oklahoma State is a great program and I have tremendous respect for Coach Gundy and his staff. Bowl games are great rewards for players and staff and I can't wait to start our preparation."
This year marks the 33rd annual Guaranteed Rate Bowl, which regularly features Big Ten and Big 12 teams. The game is scheduled for December 27, with a kickoff time of 9:15 p.m. CST on ESPN. The Minnesota Gophers won the bowl game in 2021 over West Virginia, while the Badgers previously played in this bowl game in 1996 when it was named the Copper Bowl.
The bowl game takes place inside Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks of the MLB.
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