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Previewing the 2018 New Era Pinstripe Bowl

AP (Richard Drew/AP)
December 27, 2018

Continuing the tradition of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, players from both Wisconsin and Miami rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning. While the two programs have their bowl game to focus on for Thursday, the NYSE's record-day on Wednesday means those players are likely

Continuing the tradition of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, players from both Wisconsin and Miami rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning. While the two programs have their bowl game to focus on for Thursday, the NYSE's record-day on Wednesday means those players are likely welcome to return any time.
"Let the record be very clear... after weeks of losses, it was the biggest rally of the year," Yankees president Randy Levine said. "I got a lot of calls today [saying], 'Please come back. Please come back'"
The Wisconsin Badgers and Miami Hurricanes will take part in the 2018 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium after a week of festivities in New York City. The schools come into Thursday's action with identical 7-5 records after having gone through the Big 10 and ACC gauntlet, respectively. 
The two schools are consistent bowl-eligible teams. Wisconsin is playing in a bowl game for the 17th straight season while Miami is in sixth straight year at a bowl. With that in mind, both schools were still impressed by the experience in New York City this week. "I realize you've only been in the bowl business for nine years, but you're fast learners," Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said of the bowl. "We've been to 17 in a row, so we cherish the experience the athletes have, the entire family."
Players from the two schools not only went to the New York Stock Exchange, but visited the 9/11 Memorial and One World Trade Center and also were able to experience the Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular at Rockefeller Center. The majority of the athletes had never been to New York City before, so the trip represented an eye-opening opportunity.
"I think our kids were treated to a fantastic week here full of culture," Miami Board of Trustee member David Epstein said. "Half of them who were at the Stock Exchange are probably switching their majors. They see they have the golden touch. But they've been treated to something special."
The battle between Wisconsin and Miami is both a rematch and a long-time coming for the Pinstripe Bowl. The Badgers upended the Hurricanes, 34-24, in last season's Capital One Orange Bowl. "This game, to be honest with you, 7-8 years ago was somewhat of a pipe dream. Miami and Wisconsin, perennially two of the top 15 programs in the country," Pinstripe Bowl executive director Mark Holtzman added.
Holtzman and Alvarez have experience working together long before this year's bowl. Ten years ago, Holtzman and his team pitched a committee that featured Alvarez in order to obtain a license for the Pinstripe Bowl. As evidenced by the ninth edition of the bowl, the pitch worked.
"We didn't have a title sponsor," Holtzman said. "We didn't have a TV partner. But we did have maybe the greatest sports brand in the world behind it and fortunately yourself and the other members of the committee had the vision to grant us a license."
With the George M. Steinbrenner trophy representing the goal of each program on Thursday, it's only fitting that pregame thoughts went to late Yankees owner who encouraged the Stadium to be football ready with his passion for college football.
"With George, give him some sodium pentothal: After the Yankees, he loved college football," Levine said. "That's what he was all about. He really loved it."
The 2018 Pinstripe Bowl will feature two new starting quarterbacks. Miami coach Mark Richt chose to start senior Malik Rozier over freshman N'Kosi Perry. For Wisconsin, junior Alex Hornibrook, who defeated Rozier in last year's Orange Bowl, is out with a concussion. Therefore, sophomore Jack Coan will be under center for his fifth game of the season, losing his redshirt in the process.
The Badgers are led by Doak Walker Award-winning running back Jonathan Taylor. The New Jersey native led the nation with 1,989 yards rushing in his sophomore season, scoring 15 touchdowns en route to unanimous first-team All-American honors.
Meanwhile, defense will be the focus for Miami. The Hurricanes ranked fourth in the nation in opponents' yards per play and were first in tackles for loss. On the offensive side, running back Travis Homer is just 31 yards from eclipsing 1,000 for the season.
The matchup promises to be another classic in the short but exciting history of the bowl. The last four Pinstripe Bowls were decided by seven points or fewer. 
Regardless of outcome, players from both programs will have taken in a week full of memories.
"It's hard to believe a little over three weeks ago, we sat here two days after being selected and how fast the time has come," Miami athletic director Blake James said. "What a great time it's been with memories that will last a lifetime."

For more New Era Pinstripe Bowl coverage, visit PinstripeBowl.com.