Pinstripe Bowl Thrilled With Wisconsin-Miami Matchup

Pinstripe Bowl Thrilled With Wisconsin-Miami Matchup

Football

Pinstripe Bowl Thrilled With Wisconsin-Miami Matchup

Having a strong desire to make new Yankee Stadium a year-round venue, and to appease Yankees owner, and passionate college football fan, George Steinbrenner, members of the New York Yankees traveled to Arizona to deliver a bowl presentation in order to get the Pinstripe Bowl sanctioned by the NCAA.

On that committee was current Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez.

“We had all the gloom and doomers (about) a bowl game in New York, how can you have a bowl game in New York?” New York Yankees president Randy Levine. “As usual, they were wrong. This has been a phenomenal success … Commission Bud Selig went to Wisconsin, a big Wisconsin fan, once we had this bowl, I had been lobbying Commission Selig to lobby Wisconsin for many, many years to get here.”

Starting as bowl game featuring lower-tier programs from the Big 12 and Big East has grown into what bowl officials believe is a game that is a notch below the New Year’s Six Bowls. That vision is backed up by the committee gushing over having tradition-rich programs Wisconsin and Miami face off at Yankee Stadium on Dec.27. Kickoff is 4:15 p.m. on ESPN.

“We want the schools to want to play here and experience what New York is all about,” said Mark Holtzman, executive director of the Pinstripe Bowl. “It’s a tremendous honor to have them here.”

To be fair, both schools didn’t expect to be at Yankee Stadium with 7-5 records after meeting last December in the Orange Bowl, a 34-24 Wisconsin victory in Miami Gardens.

UW opened No.4 in the Associated Press poll and No. 7 in the Amway coaches poll. Miami was at No. 8 in both rankings. The Badgers finished three games behind Northwestern in the Big Ten West Division and never won more than two consecutive games all season. The Hurricanes finished in a tie for third place in the Coastal Division of the ACC, two games behind first-place Pittsburgh, after losing four of their final six games.

This will be the first appearance for both schools in the Pinstripe Bowl and at new Yankee Stadium. The Hurricanes played once at the original Yankee Stadium, in the 1962 Gotham Bowl, losing to Nebraska, 36-34.

Both coaches insisted that their teams were excited when they were told the news of their bowl destination.

Miami coach Mark Richt said he was “shocked” how happy his team was to become bowl eligible when they beat Virginia Tech to become bowl eligible at 6-5.

Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst has recruited several players from the New York area, including quarterback Jack Coan (Long Island), wide receiver Aron Cruickshank (Brooklyn) and tailback Jonathan Taylor (New Jersey).

“We’ve got a few players on our roster from this area but a lot of (guys) have never been here,” Chryst said. “New York is that city …you see it in the movies. You feel like you’ve been here even though you haven’t. We’re excited for all the different things that come with being able to play in it.”

“It really doesn’t matter if you’re from the east coast or not,” he added. “It’s one of those opportunities. And then when you get to do that against a team and a program that you respect a ton, our guys will be excited.”

According to Holtzman, players from both teams will have the opportunity to tour the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a Chalk Talk for local Bronx youths, go to a Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall, a visit to Rockefeller Center, ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange and visit the 9/11 Memorial.

New Era Director of Football Ryan Dinunzio said players from both schools will get “the full spectrum” of hat gear and other apparel from the company as gifts, as well as some apparel that isn’t available in the U.S.

“This is a very special experience for these kids,” Holtzman said. “We really want them to give them a flavor for what this town is like.”

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