Wisconsin remains the favorite heading into Wednesday’s Capital One Bowl, and South Carolina senior defensive end Chaz Sutton remains irked about it.
“I don’t want to sound like a cocky guy, but I take it as a slap in the face,” Sutton said Monday. “We bust our butts in practice every day and for us to be the higher ranked team and be labeled as an underdog We know what kind of guys we’ve got coming to the ball park this Wednesday. We feel like we deserve more respect.”
The No. 19 Badgers are a 1.5-point favorite over the No. 8 Gamecocks.
“I was a little surprised,” Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland said. “We are confident we are going to win, but there is a huge SEC bias out there. We expect to win.”
South Carolina’s coaches haven’t mentioned the fact to their team yet, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said.
“I think it will be hammered home by some of my coaches before the game,” Ward said. “You always have to find a way to motivate your young men.”
Wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. would be interested in Duke’s offensive coordinator job if Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe contacts him, he said Monday. Spurrier Jr., the Gamecocks passing game coordinator, was a Duke wide receiver when his father coached there and earned a degree from the school in 1994.
Junior Nick Jones will take Damiere Byrd’s spot in the starting wide receiver rotation, Spurrier Jr. said.
“Nick Jones will play the whole game there. How we put our (offensive) plan together won’t change,” Spurrier Jr. said. “Where we are going to miss (Byrd) is on special teams. Nick is ready to play. He’s a good, solid player.”
Jones caught 24 passes for 256 yards during the regular season. Byrd is out after suffering a meniscus injury in his knee during bowl practice in Columbia.
Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is happy quarterback hasn’t worked out yet for former South Carolina player Tanner McEvoy, who landed at Wisconsin after leaving the Gamecocks and spending a season at an Arizona junior college.
“I know that early on in camp just seeing his athleticism and seeing him move around, we sure could use him on defense,” Aranda said.
After a wrist injury derailed at least temporarily McEvoy’s chances of playing quarterback, the Badgers moved him to safety, where he has played an increasingly large role for Wisconsin. McEvoy, who has started three games, has 24 tackles and one interception.
“As the season has gone on, he’s woven himself more and more into the defense,” Aranda said.
Senior offensive guard Ronald Patrick will have almost 20 family members and friends at Wednesday’s game. Patrick is a native of nearby Cocoa, Fla.