As a morning show radio host that works in Wisconsin and has a main target audience of women 25-54, it's safe to assume that I will be talking a lot about Donald Driver and Dancing with the Stars in the next few months. The 37-year Packers receiver (for now) will be one of the twelve contestants on the show's 14th season, to premiere Monday, March 19th on ABC. Now I do have to admit, outside of a Chris Jericho clip that might have been shown on Monday Night Raw (yes, I still watch that), I have never really seen too much of Dancing with the Stars. I get what it's about and I know the premise, but there has never really been a reason for me to sit down and watch the show. But I can guarantee you I will be watching on March 19th and hopefully well beyond that.
When the news broke this morning, it was a mad rush to Twitter - at least in Wisconsin - to see who could get their comments on the internet first. Surprisingly to me, while people did of course seem congratulatory to Driver, many people went out of their way to proclaim that they still wouldn't be watching the show even with Double D's presence. I can't necessarily say that I believe them, because I think once the show fires up they will find themselves in front of the TV on Monday nights just as I will.
To me, it's as much of me being obsessed with all things Packers as much as it is my general desire to want to root for them again. The 2011 season ended pretty abruptly and the wait until week one of 2012 feels awfully far away. If I have a reason to put on my Packers jersey once a week and root and cheer for tangible results, I'm going to take full advantage of that. So even though watching D-level celebrities dance isn't really my thing, I am more than ready to sit down and watch this thing get underway.
Let's take it one step further and get serious about it for a moment. Donald Driver has a fair chance to actually win this thing. Besides the obvious parallel between Driver and Hines Ward (a former Mirror Ball Trophy winner), the cast for this year's season is pretty weak in terms of both celebrity status and their dancing background. As it stands, Driver has the third best odds to win this season at 13/2 according to Bovada. Ahead of him are only Jaleel White (Urkel!) and William Levy (no idea who this guy is, not even a remote guess either). The full list of contestants can be found here, and it's a list that includes Maria Menounos (who is in everything), Martina Navratilova, and Gavin DeGraw (another favorite of my 25-54 female audience). I would at least expect Donald Driver to make it to the final five.
The question is though, does Driver have a more likely chance to be a Dancing with the Stars champion than a member of the Green Bay Packers when the finale is shot this May? Driver's time with the Packers seems to be winding down, not only because guys like Randall Cobb are ready to replace him in his role but because the Packers have guys on the practice squad right now that are better skill-wise. In no way am I endorsing the release of Donald Driver, but in no way will I be surprised if his release does happen. Was part of the reason that Driver signed up for this dancing competition his thought that it might keep him in a Green and Gold uniform? I'm not sure exactly, but I think that case can be made.
Regardless, I finally have a reason to watch dancing with the Stars, although it's not like I was looking for one. Driver may not even be a Packer two month from now, but as long as he's wearing a dancing uniform and not that of one of the other 31 teams in the NFL, I can still root for him a little bit longer.
I suppose a better title would be "Just when you thought the Badgers' season was done for..." or "Just when you thought the Badgers' season would be nothing more than mediocre....", but given the state of this blog, I thought this title would be a bit more dramatic.
Anyways, after the .... in any of those titles, add "Wisconsin wins at Ohio State", saving the Badgers' season and The Bucky Channel.
This one was a surprise. The Badgers Bball team won in Columbus, doing what the football team could not. This was a big win, the first for Wisconsin over a top 10 team on the road since 1980 (that one is surprising), and it keeps them in the top 4 of the Big Ten. Now don't get me wrong, the most likely scenario is that Wisconsin is an average team this year. We have seen that with 2 losses to Iowa and a bad loss to Michigan, but aside from those, the rest of our losses have been close ones to Top 10 teams. We can still hold hope of pulling off some UCONN-esque run or maybe more fittingly, a run similar to the 2000 Badger team.
Lots of positives to take from Sunday's win:
- Jordan Taylor shot over 50% from the field
- Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren have continued to usually be consistent 2nd and 3rd scorers.
- Balance - with the off the bench spark from Rob Wilson in recent games, 5 players scored 7 points or more.
- Poise in crunch time
- Doing the things we usually do well - went 9-11 from the free throw line and only turned the ball over 7 times
- Defending the big man - Wisconsin has struggled this season against Sullinger and Draymon Green, but on Sunday they held Sullinger to 8 points, the second lowest of his Big Ten career.
On the flip side of those positives:
- With that said balance - 5 players scoring 7 or more - those 5 players were the only players to score for Wisconsin and only 6 players took shots.
- Mike Bruesewitz - Apparently effort and fearlessness is not enough sometimes, even for a Bo Ryan team. Bruesewitz is under sized, and with the improved play of Ryan Evans, he's seeing a lot more time on the bench.
- Ben Brust - his hot start has cooled down, as he scored 0 points in 4 of his last 7 games, only scoring 10 points once in that span, but that is not unexpected for a player seeing such a large increase in minutes from the previous season.
All and all, a fun win, one that allows us Badger fans to maintain a slight glimmer of hope for a special season as March approaches.
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