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Wisconsin vs. USC: Holiday Bowl matchups Q&A with Conquest Chronicles

A look at key USC injuries and which matchups could impact the game.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers (9-3, 6-2) will face a program they've never beaten in its history when UW takes the field against the USC Trojans (8-5, 6-3) on Wednesday in the 2015 Holiday Bowl.

On Monday, B5Q welcomed Julian Lopez, editor of SB Nation site Conquest Chronicles, to help us break down USC's year and its playmakers. Part two of our Q&A focuses on key matchups that could go in either the Badgers' or Trojans' favor.

Where do you feel the Trojans can exploit the Badgers when USC is on offense, and where could UW have the advantage?

Wisconsin is so good on defense that the Trojans need to find balance on offense as well as giving Cody Kessler time in the pocket. If I am the defensive coordinator for Wisconsin, I would blitz a lot against Kessler because this year, when Kessler is under pressure, he doesn't respond well. With a long layoff in between the Pac-12 Championship Game and the Holiday Bowl, USC should run some trick plays against the Badgers to try and get them off balance.

Where do you feel the Trojans can exploit the Badgers when USC is on defense? Where would the Badgers have an advantage?

USC can afford to have on the one-on-one battles on the outside and put eight in the box. As I mentioned before, USC can exploit the Badgers by lining up with different formations and different blitz schemes. Wisconsin's offense playbook is similar to Stanford, and we saw what the Cardinal offense did to USC. I know the Badgers don't have Christian McCaffrey, but the Wisconsin should stick to the running game and keep trying to pound the rock.

With tackle Chad Wheeler not at the Holiday Bowl, what's the impact of his absence? What other notable injuries for USC could affect Wednesday's game?

Wheeler as been the starting left tackle for most of the season and facing one of the best defenses in the nation, the loss is going to be tough to swallow. (Zach Banner is moving from right to left tackle). The other notable injuries for USC are: running back Tre Madden (out) and Kevon Seymour, one of the starting cornerbacks for USC "50-50" to play according to Helton.

[ed. note: Helton told reporters on Monday that Seymour "probably would not play" due to injury]

Prediction for the game?

Wisconsin is going to try and slow the game down because they don't have the athletes that the Trojans do. I don't expect a lot of big plays on the offense for USC, but they should be able to move the ball even though this is the best defense they will face all season. USC will come out on top, 28-24 and win the Holiday Bowl for the second year in a row.