Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pasadena Bound?

First of all, my congratulations to everyone associated with the Wisconsin Badgers football program. This was truly a dream season that has been a joy to watch as this team grew each week after that tough loss at Michigan State and can honestly say they are a football team playing as well as anyone in the nation.

Yesterday culminated as everyone expected it would. The Badgers dismantled a clearly beat-up and undermanned Northwestern team. Would the score have been different if Persa plays for the Wildcats? Sure, but the end result would have been the same. Persa doesn't play defense, and after watching yesterday's game the argument can be made that the entire Northwestern team doesn't either.

Montee Ball did what he has done for the last six weeks behind that offense line. James White was the perfect compliment to Montee. And J.J. Watt, a strong contender for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, took over the game. Again the kick coverage team looks like it needs a little work. Expect to see more experienced players on that special teams unit for the bowl game as everyone has 5 weeks to rest and nothing will be held back in early January.

I don't remember if it was during the Badgers game yesterday, or one of the early Big Ten games, but does anyone remember the comment from a member of the broadcast team saying that Dennard Robinson is OBVIOUSLY the first-team all-Big Ten quarterback? Are you kidding me? For a 3-5 Big Ten team that didn't beat anyone worth a damn? Scott Tolzien completed 74% of his passes on the season w/ 16 TDs and only 6 interceptions. Now I know he's not flashy but does anyone run an offense better than him in the Big Ten? Now Terrelle Prior will certainly get consideration, as will Robinson, Kirk Cousins, and Persa (back to my 3-5 Big Ten record for Persa), but how do you not give serious consideration to Tolzien. My main argument with Robinson and Prior, however, is that these two guys are really just running backs who throw occasionally. Tolzien is a quarterback who directs the offense, can throw the ball well and on a consistent basis AND break the pocket to pick up the first down with his legs if he needs to. He is not a run first, throw second, type of quarterback.

On to the Rose Bowl question and the automatic Big Ten qualifier. I know Michigan State fans are going to gripe because they beat the Badgers, however, the reason they are not part of the discussion and are the first eliminated in my mind is because you can't go on the road and get blown out by a clearly mediocre Big Ten team like Iowa and remain part of the discussion. Wisconsin's loss at East Lansing was in the first week of the Big Ten season. We were without David Gilreath and Nick Toon. No discredit to Michigan State, but right now they are not better than Wisconsin and Ohio State. Period.

The bigger argument is between Wisconsin and Ohio State. What should be the most important factor is, of course, the fact that Bucky dismantled Ohio State back in October. Unfortunately, most voters can't remember that far back and as we all know it is better to lose early rather than late. Though, again, Wisconsin lost earlier than Ohio State.

With that in mind, I compared the schedules of both the Badgers and the Buckeyes. The first thing of note, the Buckeyes played 8 home games to the Badgers 7. That's right, the Buckeyes played all of their 4 non-conference games at home this year, not once going on the road. In Big Ten play the teams had 5 common opponents. Both easily handled Michigan, Indiana, Purdue, and Minnesota. Each also went on the road to Iowa, both winning close games on their last drive of the game. So with all that comparing, it pretty much looks like a wash when you compare schedules. Which brings us back to head-to-head, and we all know that result.

So we will wait until 7:15 or so Sunday night. Since neither Wisky or the Buckeyes play again til the bowl game, next week's BCS results for these two teams shouldn't be different from this weeks. There are a few "prognosticators" who are predicting that OSU will jump Wisky in the standings this week. If that happens the BCS has officially lost all credibility, if it hasn't already.


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