These past two weeks have been quiet the reality check for Wisconsin sports fans. Was it just really just a few weeks ago where the Brewers were talking World Series, the Badgers were legit National Championship contenders, and the Bucks were primed for a breakout season? Ok, maybe that last one wasn't true, but we may never know. It all seems long ago.
The biggest fall from grace has happened to the Badgers. Two weeks, two heart-breaking losses. Saturday's loss to some Ohio State University followed a very familiarly nauseating script to the previous week's loss to Michigan State - take early lead, offense gets stagnant, defense can't get a third down stop, other team back in the game, blocked punt, momentum lost, other team increases lead, late 4th quarter comeback - making it actually look easy (where was this the entire game?), extraordinary (ok this week was just bad defense, but still abnormal) touchdown pass in the closing seconds for the loss, Badgers stunned, fans angry. This week was a bit different because the Badgers took the lead unlike just tying it against MSU. I really thought we had it after we converted the 2-point conversion, but a big kickoff return and a weird lob/hail mary pass combined with poor, poor defense doomed Wisconsin. That was another tough one to take. Ohio State was ok. Wisconsin didn't have as many self inflicted wounds as last week, but the offense lacked a spark until the final 4 minutes. Russell Wilson looked great on those last two drives, but overall the offense had its worst game of the season.
So now a season that looked like it could be one that dreams are made of for Badger fans, becomes something much less. I won't say it's a disappointing one, yet. One more loss will make that, though. Now instead of scoreboard watching LSU, Alabama, Boise State, Oklahoma State, and Stanford, we're left to scoreboard watch Penn State, Purdue, and one of those Ohio State schools. Instead of lamenting about our low rank in the computer polls, we'll have to let our destiny lie in the hands of others. Instead of being at the top of the BCS we are left to sneak into a BCS bowl like Cincinnati or West Virginia It's not what we wanted, but thanks to the Big Ten Championship, we still have something to watch for. I'm not one for making predictions, but I think Wisconsin will still make the Rose Bowl. Penn State will lose. Ohio State will lose and I don't think Wisconsin will. As heart wrenching these past two games were and as average as Wisconsin looked at times, they were so, so close to still being undefeated. If the ball had literally bounced differently on a few plays, we'd be talking something totally different.
So don't give up yet Badger fans. There is still a lot to play for. And if this Russell Wilson year does not bring the Championship we hoped for, hey we still got one more year of Jordan Taylor!