Monday, September 20, 2010

Badgers Stay Even in Polls After Narrow Win

Oh boy. The Badgers game against Arizona State on Saturday wasn't a cupcake game by any means, as the Sun Devils play in a legit conference and are a legit foe. But we've come to except that any time the Badgers play a home game before the Big Ten schedule beings, it's going to be a victory. In fact, that Badgers have started 3-0 in every season that Bret Bielema has led this team. Yet, that was nearly not the case on Saturday as the Badgers needed a Cal Poly-like miracle to come out of this one victorious, using a blocked extra point to gain the 20-19 victory.

The victory stayed true to the formula we've already this season: Defense is solid, passing game is unremarkable yet efficient, and John Clay bruises his way towards the Heisman Watch (another 123 yards and a touchdown in this one). Give a huge nod though to special teams for this victory, as they essentially saved the game. The blocked extra point will make the headlines, but it was Shelton Johnson's tackle on a kickoff return at the one yard line to save a touchdown before halftime that may have been even more important. Either way, this game was a bit of a scare but the Badgers got the victory, and you hope that being forced to win close games early in the season will only help them later on.

With the win being as close as it was, the Badgers didn't do too much moving in the Top 25 polls. The only team that lost above them was Iowa, as they lost late Saturday night, actually early Sunday morning to Arizona.I don't remember too much about that game, but I do believe I went on a drunk mini-tirade about how bad Iowa's offensive line was on their final drive when they were looking for a comeback. Not a good showing for the Big Ten in that regard.

With the Hawkeyes losing though, the Badgers did move up one spot to number ten in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Alabama remains the top team in that ranking system with Ohio State, Boise State, Texas, and TCU right behind them. Other Big Ten schools include Iowa at 18, Penn State at 20, Michigan at 22, and Michigan State at 23. Nice win by the Spartans with the play of the year so far to beat Notre Dame when they faked a field goal to win the game in overtime. Future Big Ten school Nebraska is number 7 in the rankings, earning one first-place vote.

In the AP Poll, the Badgers stay stagnant at number 11, remaining outside of the top ten for another week. In front of this poll remains Alabama, with Ohio State, Boise State, TCU, and Oregon right behind them. Nebraska comes in at number six. Other Big Ten schools include Iowa at 18, Michigan at 21, Penn State at 23, and Michigan State at 25.

Next up for the Badgers is an 11am game this Saturday on the Big Ten Network, with the 2-1 Austin Peay Governors coming into Camp Randall. If the Badgers only win that game by one point, then I say we start to worry. But for now, let's keep riding the momentum and hopefully brace ourselves for a matchup of undefeated teams when Ohio State comes to Madison on October 16th (if we can beat Michigan State and Minnesota though first).

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