Yesterday afternoon I went to an outdoor wedding. I had the Wisconsin-Michigan game set to record, was able to watch the first quarter, and left the house feeling pretty confident, even with Welsh missing that first field goal and the Badgers offense not making it into the end zone. I mean, hell, Michigan wasn't doing crap on offense, and UW was consistently moving the ball. Then I got home around midnight (if you ever go to a Hindu wedding, be forewarned--- they are long), checked my cell and saw a couple of generally positive messages from friends. (Apparently those were sent at halftime.) Figuring Wisconsin won, I went downstairs, put on the TV, and waited for the scores to scroll by. I was definitely not prepared for "lost by two," "missed tying two-point conversion due to offensive penalty," and blew "19-0 halftime lead." I thought I was going to be sick. What a friggin' terrible way to cap an otherwise pretty good day.
Now I can't decide whether to watch the whole debacle. I saw a bunch of highlights on the stupid Lou Holtz, mouth-full-of-spit show. Do I really want to subject myself to that and ruin Sunday as well? Ugh. Anyhow, here's the following somewhat uninformed commentary:
- I second the complete and total disappointment in the outcome of this game. Wisconsin was likely not solid or dynamic enough to be a national title aspirant, and their number 8/9 ranking was undoubtedly a little too high. But it looked like they had a very good shot at winning the Big Ten. Now, the road is looking really tough. Help will probably be needed, and silly things like tiebreakers could come into play Plus, the margin for error becomes very, very small. As Badger fans, we better hope this team keeps improving, and that Beckum finally gets the back of his leg straightened out.
- If the loss serves to galvanize the team into getting its crap together, then good. But I'm concerned that the disappointment and anxiety is going to carry over into next week's game against Ohio State, and potentially into the night game against Penn State. Crap.
- Best case scenario is this game becomes like the Cincinnati loss in 1999 or the Michigan loss in 2006. Something that motivates the team, helps them learn and improve. But it seems like it's hard to take anything away from a game that you had in your hands and pissed away except loads of frustration and disappointment in yourself.
- Man, it would have been excellent to win this game. Not that it would have been all that impressive a victory. Hell, Utah won at Michigan this year, pretty handily. But UW hasn't won in the dirty whore that is Ann Arbor for 14 years. Now that stretch is going to be at least 16. And as pathetic as it sounds, this was likely their best bet for a victory for years--- a talented senior laden team with experienced lines going against a struggling young team in transition. It would have been really nice to not have to think about Touchdown Tony Simmons when thinking of the last UW victory at Michigan.
- What does it say about the coaching staff when UW has had two high-profile games in a row where the opponent has totally outcoached them from halftime on? Fresno State and Michigan both had huge offensive second halves. And after halftime at Fresno, Wisconsin scored one field goal. After halftime at Michigan, Wisconsin scored one last-gasp touchdown, and had a dropped pass returned for a touchdown. What's happening here?
- That the passing game was apparently crap without Graham and Beckum is actually not super surprising. If you had told me that both those guys would miss the game, I would have predicted that the offense struggles. The WRs are just not good enough and Evridge isn't consistently accurate or mobile enough to take pressure of the run game without those two in the game. We all better hope they're healthy for Ohio State. Also, how much does this season suck for Beckum? He works all offseason to become a legit pro prospect and have his best season ever, and he's hardly played.
- UW wasn't alone in totally blowing a game yesterday. Iowa was up 17-3 at home against Northwestern, and lost. That's more embarrassing for sure, though definitely not more frustrating.
- Who hates Michael Phelps now? I do.
- The second worse thing about this loss is that it may have finally started the RichRod era at Michigan. That is, Wisconsin let Michigan wake up from its season-long funk. They don't run up 200 plus yards in the second half without getting their act together offensively, at long last. That's too bad honestly, as it would have been good for the collective egos of Michigan and its self-entitled fanbase to miss a bowl game this year, and gain some humility. Ugh.