Well, all and all, I think most people would agree that this Rose Bowl game lived up to all the hype and featured two fairly evenly matched teams. And while as a Badgers fan most of us can sit at home this morning and think "what if, what if," I find it pretty hard to be too upset. Obviously, I wanted a win for the Badgers, but I also think TCU showed a lot of heart on a tremendously huge stage for their program.
As with most football games, this one basically boiled down to mistakes. I am hard pressed to remember too many, if any, being committed by TCU. While the Badgers, unfortunately, had their fair share each quarter. Now as anyone who follows any sport knows, good teams/individual performers force their opponents into mistakes on a large number of occasions. The great teams/individuals are those who do not commit the deadly "unforced error," to steal a term from the tennis world. These were the errors that made the difference in Pasadena yesterday. Nick Toon, Devin Smith, and Aaron Henry were by far the biggest violators in this category in my mind.
If Nick Toon shows up in the first quarter yesterday the game after the first drive is most likely 7-0 instead of 3-0. A false start penalty and then a bad route and poor effort on third down essentially killed that drive. Devin Smith commits a horrible pass interference penalty in the first drive of the third quarter when the ball was five feet over the receiver's head, and as a whole covered and tackled very poorly (though this goes for the entire Badgers secondary). Aaron Henry bites on a fake wide receiver screen and gets beat over the top for TCU's first touchdown and then drops a easy interception later in the game. That is the kind of play a safety HAS to make when it was obvious from early on that a single turnover may mean the difference in the game. I also question the defensive gameplan, especially in the second half. The defensive line really did not generate much pressure on Dalton all day. Your DBs are playing 8-12 yards off the receivers and getting picked apart. I seriously thought the situation called for some blitzing, which really never came. The lack of pressure on Dalton was probably the single biggest contributor to this loss, in my opinion.
Again, however, I find it too hard to be upset about the game yesterday. This team had a fabulous season. There is much to be exited about for next season. Replacing the left side of the offensive line will be important, as will improving the secondary and figuring out if Phillips can step in for Tolzein. Scoring points should really not be a problem again this coming fall. So as we head into a new calendar year and the football season comes to an end, it is time to turn our attention to Bo Ryan's guys.
As far as Badgers football stands currently, dare I say, things look very "ROSEY!"