Sunday, November 30, 2008

Defeat Snatched from Jaws of Victory

That was an awful, awful ending. Terms like "grimtrillescent" come to mind. Seriously, are you kidding me? Fighting that hard and playing that well to get back into the game and take the lead, and then every facet of your team lets you down, just at the wrong time. Ugh. The Packers are now 5-7. The season is essentially over, sad to say, as either the Bears or the Vikings will be 7-5 (barring a tie) in about seven hours, and there will definitely not be any wild card berths earned in the NFC North this year. Random scattershot thoughts---

- I like what Brandon Jackson did today. But I don't know about no Ryan Grant for the entire second half, unless he was hurt. Everybody needs a blow sometimes.

- Obviously, the game went South as soon as the Packers got that last first and goal at the 10. Delay of game penalty (two delays of game?), then Rodgers tattooed out of bounds, first down at the seven. That would be fine usually, but McCarthy seemed afraid to pass after Rodgers took that hit. Jackson makes a nice run to the one. Then two straight runs for nothing, or slight losses, where the Panthers were stacking the box chock full. Field goal, another embarrassing return, the bomb to Smith, the one yard run, game over. UGH.

- I wonder if McCarthy thought about using Grant down at the goal line. Probably not.

- I wonder if McCarthy thought about squib kicking that last kickoff? No offense, but that seems like it would have been a pretty good idea-- all of the Panthers' big returns came from that direction. I bet he would have done it for sure had the Packers scored a touchdown on the previous drive.

- Is anyone else just depressed by this loss? I mean, I know the Packers weren't likely doing anything this year. Winning the division would have probably led to a first-round or divisional round playoff loss, likely a sound beating. But still. The team displayed so much of the good and the bad in this game. The ability and then the boneheadedness-- like Driver's great snag compared with Wells' completely unclutch snap over Rodgers' head. The team really plays like its age. Maybe that's it. Maybe there are too many guys who are fading, mixed with too many young guys who are still figuring it out. I mean, I'm hard pressed to think of more than one important player on the Packers who is "in his prime" right now. (Only Aaron Kampman comes to mind. Jenkins and Barnett would have too, but they're both injured. Donald Lee, maybe?) So the squad plays like a team full of aging but crafty veterans, and talented but inconsistent youngsters-- it sputters. Sometimes the veterans get beat physically, sometimes the young guys make execution errors (or they're just not good enough and get beat physically too).

- I guess I feel especially nervous about (and sad for) the aging veterans who are having renaissance seasons. Charles Woodson has played like the effing man this season. And Driver is simply a fine receiver. Both of them are on the verge though. The river flows faster as it gets close to the water fall.

- And what's scary is that the creaky veterans man important positions-- namely both CBs and both OTs. Ignoring Trammon Williams' unclutchness and penalties today, I feel okay about the replacements at corner. But I have no idea who might replace Clifton (Colledge? The mind reels), and Tauscher's potential replacement (the Brazillian kid from Louisville who was drafted this year) has yet to play a real down. This is all well known, I guess. Sigh. Who knows what the future holds. It's been a tantalizing, but ulitimately disappointing season.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wrong, Wrong, and Wrong

I completely and totally agree with Sal's post below, stringently criticizing Wisconsin State Journal columnist Tom Oates for his typically lazy, ill-thought out, and poorly reasoned piece claiming the Packers would have been better off this season had they welcomed Favre back. I had to mute the ridiculous Tony Kornheiser comments at the end of the Monday night game, where he started making the same point, under the pathetic guise that "this is what people around the country are going to be saying." You're a coward, Kornheiser. If "what people are going to be saying" isn't accurate, and it isn't in this case, then don't bring it up, you superficial sellout. As you can tell, this whole argument really pisses me off.

Favre did not cause Ryan Grant or Atari Bigby to pull their hamstrings and become ineffective for weeks and weeks. He did not cause Clifton and Tauscher to start showing their age. He didn't tear the knee ligaments of James Jones and Josh Sitton. He did not rip Cullen Jenkins' pectoral muscle off of his sternum, get Johnny Jolly arrested for codeine possession, pull Justin Thompson's groin, cause KGB to never recover from a knee injury, or slip Justin Harrell's vertebrae. He did not repeatedly pull AJ Hawk's various muscles, or change the terms of a trade for Tony Gonzalez at the last minute, or lacerate Al Harris's spleen. He didn't cause McCarthy to remarry and opt to have a newborn baby during the middle of the season. He didn't make the Packers' linebackers incapable of blitzing effectively (excepting Brandon Chillar) and turn Bob Sanders into an exceedingly one-dimensional defensive coordinator. In short, Favre's absence didn't suddenly make the Packers' pass rush ineffective. The "leadership void" left by Brett didn't make the run defense disappear. He didn't cause the running game to start and stop like a rusted jalopy.

Here's what Favre did do. His retirement gave the Packers lots of money they could have used in free agency to chase some defensive linemen (maybe Kris Jenkins, who's playing great for the Jets this season), and/or franchise Corey Williams and play him this season. They should have done one or the other. That was Thompson's error. Favre's retirement also egged the team into drafting Brian Brohm, at a point in the draft where they could have grabbed one of several pass rushing prospects. So if Favre had never retired, maybe they draft a d-linemen there, who might be helping put some heat on the quarterback right now. That's the only conceivable argument I can think of that the team would be better off with Favre at the helm. But, of course, the writers are criticizing the Packers for not taking him back from his unretirement, when it was too late to undo the Brohm pick. It's an absurd argument, and so stupidly shortsighted. How about next year, or the year after that? Who "wins the trade" then? How about when the Jets crash out in the playoffs this season? What a bunch of desperately-seeking-a-lede jackasses.

And what's really sad is that I'm not upset that Favre's team is doing well. I wish him success (especially because it will improve the Packers' compensation). But all of this ridiculous back-biting by bored, uncreative journalists is making me want to see the Jets fail, not to spite Brett or Mangenius or long suffering Jets fans, but just to make these stupid hacks shut the hell up.

Oates is wrong.

Tom Oates is an excellent writer, but I disagree with his assessment of the Packers season and decision on the Favre/Rodgers decision:

The Pack's problems start with defense, and are followed by inconsistent running. In many ways, A Rodg is the bright spot in this season. This team would not have a better record with Favre at QB. It would have a better record if the defense from the beginning of last year were still playing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Not your Father's Superdome

What the hell was that?! I'm left to believe that our defensive signal caller and defensive coordinator are not on the same page and that our fill-in linebackers are only good enough to tie their shoes. And then get them untied. And left in a puddle of they're own superdome GBP-Hurricane Katrina memorial piss.
Bigby sucked. Hawk sucked. Even Woodson sucked. The only players that played half way adequately were 79 & 97. Our D-line as a whole looked like they were ready to go. And the best secondary in GBP history decided that today was Lance Moore day.
If Favre and the Jets go to the Superbowl I'm gonna puke in my own mouth and swallow it.

On the other hand, I've never felt so good about a 19 point ass-kicking ass I do about the one handed down to us by the great Huskies of UCONN ("tucky?" the girl I guzzled Sopporos next to, so West Coastally inquired). Nope.
UCONN has 4 lottery picks in its starting line-up, and 1 on its bench. They are incredible ball-handlers and shooters. They out shot us %52 to %37, and out rebounded us 31-25. They had us in the bonus with nine and a half minutes left in the 2nd half, and we could not get any momentum going after that. I have no problem losing to them by 30. Much different then last years Duke game. Duke sucked. This UCONN team is nastay. We fouled them 22 times to their 14, but they were bigger and faster and getting position. So that's what happened.

Jarmusczsh is great. Everyone is great. As long as they don't have to get the ball over half court, they're ooooookay. Loo-er is a monkey. TAKE IT TO THE RACK, MONKEY!

Monday, November 24, 2008

UConn-UW AND Packers-Saints

What a night, huh? Two seriously meaningful games for two of this blog's three teams, both coming against high quality opponents.

If you had to set the Tivo on one though, I think it'd have to be the Wisconsin men's basketball team's match-up against UConn. It should be a fascinating match-up, as UConn has a 7' 3" center who's actually pretty skilled and athletic, and a bunch of other guys who are potential pro prospects. It's one of those contests where the other team has "more talent" on paper, so Wisconsin will likely have to outexecute them. Anyhow, I don't expect them to win, largely because this team still seems to developing its own identity, but I hope they keep it close. Also, a loss wouldn't be earth-shattering, as I highly doubt they'll go undefeated this season, and it's really early still. A loss to a very highly touted squad (UConn is currently ranked 2nd), would be absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

In contrast, the Packers game is more important as far as the season's prospects go. Both the Vikings and the Bears won yesterday. To keep pace in the division, Green Bay must beat the New Orleans Saints, who are also desperately fighting for the playoffs. Like the Pack, the Saints are also 5-5, but have gone 4 and 1 in the Superdome. So it's going to be a tough environment. Plus, Drew Brees is the leading passer in the league (yardage wise), and New Orleans has some top-notch talent at key positions, like Reggie Busch (who's questionable) and Deuce McCallister in the backfield, Marques Colston at wideout, and Will Smith at defensive end. As far as the intelligent stats go, the Saints have the third best offense in the league. (See here for Football Outsiders' current batch.) But they're also saddled with a pretty mediocre defense, ranking twenty-sixth in the league. So you'd expect it to be a bit of a shoot-out. Interestingly, it's also something of a homecoming for McCarthy, as he was the offensive coordinator in the Big Easy for a few seasons. He's done pretty well in his "homecoming" games so far (as the Pack won at SF two seasons ago, and won at KC last fall).

Unfortunately, the Packers are a bit unlucky in the timing of this game. Smith and McCallister both tested positive for a naughty supplement (a substance that can help mask the presence of steroids), but their suspensions have yet to be handed down. I guess the NFLPA negotiated some extraordinarily timestaking appeals process for this positive tests. Anyhow, those guys will be on the field tonight, but the Bears will likely get to play the Saints without seeing these two. Argh. (The Bears may also get to play Minnesota with both of the Williams brothers suspended. No way the Packers lose in the triple H Dome two weeks ago if those two monstrosities are sitting on the sidelines.)

Anyhow, enterainment abounds this evening. Get the tivos set and get the "jump" button primed! Go Badgers and go Packers!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


These two pieces, by Michael Hunt and Jim Polzin are pretty much exactly what my feelings are regarding the Wisconsin football team at this point, and essentially mirror Sal's points. When you think back on this season, all you can really say is "Ugh."

A Moral Defeat?

Sooooo, that went well. Thank you #94, PK extrordinaire.

People speak frequently of moral victories (i.e. OT loss to Tennessee on the road for the Pack), but never of moral defeats. As Mr. Man mentioned, there is no upside to playing a good I-AA school. I patently refuse to recognize FCS/BCS because I think the BCS sucks.) However, when you win by one point in overtime, against Cal Poly SLO, because their kicker missed 3 PATs and a potential game winning FG, is this really something to be throwing your helmet off in celebreation for (a la Kemp)? Nobody likes to lose on Senior Day, but come on.

Once again the blame falls on the coaches. Even without Valai and Goins, the coaches should have been able to make adjustments to get some stops. Also, why was there nobody back to return that last FG attempt when they knew that the kicker was a shanker. There is no way anybody touches Gilreath if he fields that ball.

Hooray for the Akron Store Brand Chips Bowl on December 13.


Jeff Potrykus is the Wisconsin football beat writer for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. I think he does a fine job covering the team, though he can be a bit crusty, an attribute that especially comes out when hosting online chats during the season. Today, he turned his disdain on full bore for Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez. I don't know how you feel about Michigan football this season (since I'm friends with some Michigan alums I kind of feel bad, though I really wish UW had beat them), but Rodriguez just seems to be a hard guy to like, significantly more of a huckster than your typical Division I coach. Anyhow, since the worst season in decades for the Wolverines is almost over and Michigan knew it was going to get thumped by Ohio State today, Rich Rod opted to preemptively defend himself. Potrykus is having none of it. Funny stuff.

p.s. Also, UW will be especially thin in the defensive backfield this afternoon-- both Jay Valai and Mario Goins are out. That's unfortunate, as Cal Poly runs a ton, and both guys are good, solid tacklers.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I think Wisconsin men's basketball fans, myself definitely included, may have gotten a bit overconfident after Tuesday's beat down of SIU-Edwardsville. And that's because the Badgers just had to go to overtime to beat Iona. Of course, since the game wasn't broadcast anywhere, there's no way to know what was going on really. Although from reading's blog entries, it sounds like UW went absolutely ice-cold in the second half, hardly scored for long periods of time, got whistled for a ton of fouls, and was down four points with a minute or two left. Then they gutted it out, tied the game, started playing decent defense, getting a few foul calls and making some free throws. Though not enough to make it comfortable-- they won by two, 60 to 58. Phew.

San Diego beat Valpo, so UW will play them on Sunday evening in the semi-finals of the illustrious Paradise Jam. The game will allegedly air on some derivation of Fox College Sports, apparently Channel 617 on DirecTV, but we'll see. San Diego is the team that beat UConn in the tournament last year, and has returned all five of their starters. They've lost once this season, a 5-point season opening loss at UNLV, where they were missing three starters, including all all WCC player. Yeah, all three of those guys are now back. They did only beat Valpo by seven, earlier today, but still-- Sunday's contest should be a very tough one. And you can't have a lot of confidence in Badgers after tonight's near loss. Thankfully, the season is long, this team is pretty young and still getting its act together, and has lots of potential. There's a lot of time to get better.

The Final Triumvirate "Weekend"

Ah, how that blessed season, where the Packers, Badger men's basketball and Badger football overlap, comes and goes so quickly. And this weekend may not even count, as the Packers don't play until Monday night at the Saints (Monday is definitely a weekday, I don't care what the ESPN ads say) and the Badger basketball team is gallivanting around the Virgin Islands in a tournament that may or may not be aired anywhere. Bummer.

Thankfully, the most entertaining and perhaps the most important even this weekend will be the most easy to catch, I think. It's the University of Wisconsin football team playing the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mustangs on Saturday morning at 11 am. Don't laugh. Yes, Cal Poly may be a Division I, FCS level school (formerly known as D-IAA). But they're also ranked third in the FCS polls. They have one of the leading offenses at that level, something callled the "triple option," which, since I wasn't watching much football in the 70s and 80s, is beyond my current understanding. They also have an enormous wideout that's being hyped as a potential first-day draft pick. And they run a 3-4, which could be effective as it's a somewhat novel scheme at this level. In short, this game is nothing to sneeze at and will likely be hard fought and close down to the final minutes. Frankly, I'm frightened by it-- the Badgers need the win for guaranteed bowl eligibility (and the ability to practice through December), but they'll obviously get no credit for a win, let alone a close win. And if they lose, the ramifications are very serious. It'll be a very serious blow to Bielema, the coaching staff and to the program generally, totally killing the goodwill garnered by the Minnesota comeback. And what bowl game is going to take an underperforming 6-6 squad that just lost to an FCS school? This is an important, scary game.

Thankfully, it's played in Madison, starting at 2:30 pm Central time (allegedly on the Big Ten Network, though check your alternates). This means it's going to be friggin' freezing, and especially cold as the game winds down. Since California's central coastline is one of the most temperate places in the Continental United States, you'd have to think the Mustangs will not be loving their environs by the end of the game. Hopefully, the Badgers' running game and some effective passing by Sherer will allow them to play keep away, keeping Cal Poly's bizarre and scary offense off the field. But you have to think the Cal Poly guys will be fired up to prove something, evn though this game basically doesn't matter to them, as their season will continue in the FCS playoffs regardless.

The UW men's basketball will be playing at least three games in the next four days as part of the Paradise Jam tourney in the sunny Carribean. (Why didn't I think to follow them down there again?) Anyhow, unfortunately, their first game (against Iona tonight at 7:30) will not be broadcast, except on the radio or on a terrible paid online feed. See here. You'd hope they'd take care of Iona (12-20 last season, and a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), but win or lose they'll play either Valparaiso or San Diego. Valpo gave UW a tough time in Madison last season, and San Diego won the WCC tournament last season (Gonzaga's conference), beat UConn in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, and returns all of its guys. Two potentially very tough match-ups. Anyhow, things go screwy from there, depending on if they lose and to whom. They could play UConn or Miami in the final (UConn is currently ranked in the top 5, and Miami in the top 20), they could play LaSalle or Southern Mississsippi in some type of consolation game. It's all up in the air. (Here's the bracket.)

Anyhow, thanks to the tropical locale, it seems very dubious as to whether you'll be able to watch any of those games whatsoever. Allegedly, some of the games on Sunday (when the Badgers will play if they beat Iona) will be broadcast on some series of Fox College Sports (FCS) channels. Alas, I get none of them. The championship game, should the Badgers make it that far (dubious), will be broadcast on Monday night on one of the thousands of derivations of Fox Sports Net. But, of course, this broadcast will run right up against the Packer game. Sigh. Anyhow, go Badgers! I'll be cheering for them in abstentia, apparently.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Last night was a bit of a coming out party for the young man from Long Lake, Minnesota (and an alumnus of the same high school as three of my cousins). Of course, SIU-Edwardsville is not a great team. Heck, I'm willing to bet if one checked the Pomeroy ratings at the end of the season, siue (their bizarre uniforms had all the letters in lowercase) would be in the bottom fifty. But man, Jon Leuer looked exactly like you hoped he would when you first read about him two years ago-- a collegiate Dirk Nowitzki, just with better hair. Dunks, mid-range jumpers, facing up his man and driving to the basket, snatching boards. Woo-hah! Good stuff.

Don't have much time to discuss things today as work has gotten pretty hectic all of a sudden. But other random observations---
- Landry continues to look like the man, and like he knows he needs to be the man. He's developing a really excellent touch around the basket.
- Krabby hasn't had the greatest start to the season. It looks like he's pressing at times, especially on offense when he looks for his own shots. Although he did nail both of his free throws last night.
- Tim Jarmusz is the king of hustle. Bo was right-- he busts his ass constantly and makes good decisions offensively. Not a huge talent, but talented and smart enough to be a very good college player, I think. Plus, he showed excellent touch on his two jumpers. Now if he could just start making more of his free throws.
- For some reason, Keaton Nankivil got pulled kind of early and didn't get back in much. He must have screwed up defensively in some sort of difficult to measure kind of way. Or they weren't interested in having him and Leuer on the court at the same time, and Leuer was playing excellent offense.
- True frosh Ian Markolf is no longer a redshirt candidate. He got some garbage minutes last night. Actually, so did everyone except for Jared Berggren and Ryan Evans. Evans is a declared redshirt, and Berggren must be pondering one.
- The order of the subs was the starting five, then Leuer, Jordan Taylor, Jarmusz, and Rob Evans. That really kind of looks like the rotation right now-- nine men, with Evans likely to get smaller minutes than the other three guys off the bench. After that, Gullickson came in, followed by Gavinski. Markolf got in later when the bench emptied. What was neat was the quality of play didn't drop off much when the other guys got in. Gullickson, for one, looked good.
- Tempo Free Stats for the game: Wisconsin's points per possession: 1.29; SIUE's points per possession: .85

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another UW Basketball Game Tonight

As mentioned previously, the University of Wisconsin plays host to the Cougars of Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville this evening. (If you're wondering, Edwardsville is a semi-distant St. Louis suburb, on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River.) The Cougars are 1-2, and having just played in a tournament in Charleston, South Carolina, with their win coming over Western Michigan.

They're also currently enjoying their first season at the Division I level, and, as you might expect, have a bunch of new folks on their roster, which you can see here. On thing that jumps out at you is the number of freshmen (six), and that all of the upperclassmen (four juniors and a senior) are all transfers from either junior colleges or other schools. So you'd think the Cougars haven't had much experience playing together, and wouldn't necessarily be all that cohesive a unit. But it's hard to know, and, heck, the UW staff doesn't even know, since none of SIUE's tournament games were taped. Essentially, UW is going into this game blind. Should make for some interesting stuff, I bet. Game tips off at 7:30 pm Central on the Big Ten Network. (Bless the BTN, and it saving me from having to watch "The Biggest Loser," again . . . .) If you want more, here's the Capital Times' brief preview of the game tonight. The Cap Times is doing an excellent job covering UW basketball this season, incidentally.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Three for Three!

The first triumvirate weekend of the year results in total success. The footballing Badgers get a sloppy but exhilarating victory over their oldest rival, the Packers whoop up on their oldest rival, and the men's basketball Badgers narrowly avoid disaster by falling back on senior leader Marcus Landry. Inspiring stuff.

In re the Packers:
- This was like the Colts game all over again, except the Bears are a lot worse offensively than the Colts. The Packers ran the ball well, had nice passing lanes set up by the run, and basically held onto the ball for two-thirds of the game-- 37 minutes. The Bears ran the ball decently, but they had trouble converting third downs, and the Packers held onto the ball forever when they had it. Hell, they only punted twice, and only turned the ball over once (that underthrown pass to Donald Driver that Brian Urlacher picked off-- Rodgers should have made a deeper throw or run with the ball). Every other drive ended in a score. Crazy.
- What is up with the Packers offensive line? It's like Jekyll and Hyde. Although, to be fair, their run blocking against Tennessee and Minnesota was decent, it was just their pass blocking that was bad. And the Bears pass rush has been pretty pathetic all year. So maybe they're just pretty good at run-blocking and mediocre at pass-blocking?
- The Packers' run defense actually wasn't that great-- the stats show the Bears gained 4.2 yards per carry. The D just did a pretty good job on third downs. Anyhow, to be plain, the run defense issues aren't suddenly fixed. It wasn't just Nick Barnett having a down year that made the run D poor.
- I really liked the fullback runs on short distances. Now that they've shown the play a few times though, they'll just have to be careful about being too predictable with it.
- I also liked how Charles Woodson went and retrieved the ball on Jason Hunter's touchdown. Chuckie thoughtfully realized that Hunter (an Appalachian State grad, and a guy with at least one season on the practice squad) would probably want to keep the ball.
- I did not like how obvious the Packers' blitzes were. If I can see them coming on TV, I mean . . . come on.
- Always nice to beat the Bears. Great to beat them in a meaningful game. Excellent to get rid of this "Lovie Smith is undefeated in Green Bay" specter. Wonderful to beat the Bears handily and look good in all three facets of the game. Now they just need to perform consistently, starting next week against the Saints on Monday Night Football, where a ball control offense would again be a good idea.

In re the male basketballing Badgers:
- This game was scary stuff. Losing at home to Long Beach State to start the season would have been a North Dakota State-esque embarrassment. Definitely not the way they would have wanted to start the season. So, phew.
- Why was the game close? Well, partly because Beach nailed a ton of contested threes in the first half, and their main guy, Donovan Morris, had a NBA Hang Time "He's on fire!" stretch in the second to pull them back into it. But also, this Badger team made a lot of errors-- failing to get the ball into the post enough, not doing a very good job on the boards, taking some semi-reckless shots and/or making some sloppy offensive decisions (I thought Jason Bohannon was guilty of several of these), and committing associated turnovers that led to easy points for the Beach.
- Of course, Marcus Landry was the man, particularly in the second half. He saved the Badgers with his shooting and help defense. It's nice to have heady, talented seniors.
- So freshmen Rob Wilson and Jordan Taylor are definitely playing this season. Both of them saw time, and both of them made their first shots. Wilson's was a three, and Taylor's was a shot-clock-running-out prayer that hilarious banked in high off the glass. Wilson did get pulled immediately after missing a quick, ill-advised shot in the second half.
- Jon Leuer made a great, athletic drive to the basket at some point in the second. He looked like natural scorer on that play. As time goes on he should be really effective dribble-driving past the centers and power forwards who try to guard him. But Jon also had an ugly, overaggressive turnover. I'd like to see him get more time on the floor, both to get him more offensive experience and because UW will likely UW need the size for rebounding purposes.
- Good to start with a win, and I hope Beach validates the closeness of this game by being a good team in the Big West this season. I also hope the Badgers learned some things from this game that will help them improve going forward. Next game is Tuesday night against Southern Illinois-- but it's not the Carbondale, Illinois based Salukies who have been perennial tournament threats. No, it's Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, which is currently enjoying its first season at the Division I level.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wisconsin-Minnesota Post-script

A few things:

- The play where Daven Jones was injured (he has a torn ACL and is done for the year, though he has a redshirt he could use next season) was despicable. He was a gunner on a punt, had his man beaten plainly, was the first guy down the field, in great position to tattoo the returner . . . and his man shoves him in the back. His leg twists awkwardly, he goes flying past the returner and crumples to the turf. At least the refs saw it and called the blatant and disgusting block in the back. Nice one, Gophers. Couple that with the stupid body slamming of Nick Toon and the head punch of Bill Nagy, and it looks like many of Minnesota's players were so amped up they weren't playing intelligently.

- It sounds like Kyle Jefferson is doing alright and isn't too badly injured. My original post on the game failed to mention Kyle being knocked unconscious and being taken off the field in an ambulance. That was poor form, as that was scary, scary stuff. Remembering the vicious hit he took against Michigan State last season, you have to wonder if he's just too skinny a guy to be a D-I (excuse me, FBS) receiver. He still has a redshirt season to burn. Taking it, perhaps next year, and using it to really focus on bulking up and getting stronger might be a good idea. At the very least, Kyle has to start acting like David Gilreath when he catches balls in the middle of the field, and get down quickly.

- Finally, I like how Nick Maragos redeemed his botched hold on the Badgers' first field goal attempt. Specifically, on the last defensive play of the game, where Niles Brinkley (who despite his ongoing learning curve as a cornerback, has great hands) snatched an interception and inexplicably decided to start running across the field with the ball, Maragos shouted and waved his hands at him, trying to get Brinkley to fall down. Eventually Niles figured it out, and hit the turf, sealing the win. Smart play, Nick, and a good example of leadership. A fumble there by Brinkley gives the Gophers a fresh set of downs, and the game remains very much in question.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bowl Eligibility Attained

What a wild and ridiculous game. The two sides, Wisconsin and Minnesota, basically take turns handing the game to each other (two safeties, one a near Krumble, aka kickoff fumble return for touchdown?), but each team is too inept to firmly take control.

True, Wisconsin made some great plays to get back into it. This game was definitely a bit of a coming out party for some of the Badgers' young wideouts, especially native Minnesotan Isaac Anderson. Anderson failed to adjust to a decent bomb in the first half, but made up for it with a fine catch on an excellent throw that was almost a touchdown in the second. Plus, he had some big third down conversions. Hill created some decent runs out of nothing. Shaughnessy and Newkirk put on some solid pressure on many downs. Aubrey Pleasant was making sure tackles in the secondary. True frosh Antonio Fenelus made a great hit to force the fumble that led to the safety.

But both teams committed plenty of boneheaded mistakes. Though Weber is a good QB, Brandon Green was way too open on that embarrassing Fourth and 18 conversion that kept the Gophers in the game. Sherer failed to throw the ball away on several downs, leading to sacks and big lossess. The Badgers' failure to pick up more than 3 yards on the Badgers' last real offensive drive was embarrassing, though at least the ran the clock down before each snap. (Lesson learned, I hope.) Whapping the ball out of bounds on the kickoff return-fumble was uber-frustrating. And Shane Carter creeping offsides on Minnesota's first two point conversion attempt was reminiscent of Travis Beckum's error against Michigan.

But the Gophers had more screw-ups. They had UW stopped on a long third down, when a Minnesota DB decided to body slam Nick Toon while both of them were out of bounds. Fifteen yard penalty, first down. Just dumb. And on the series leading into the safety, why did the Minnesota LG try to cut block Newkirk on a drop back passing play? Was he tired? (Newkirk hoped over the guard and sacked Weber at the 2.) And I have no idea why Weber held the ball so long on the second safety. Or why the Minnesota LT couldn't hold still before the snap in the second half. And of course the fumble that provided the Badgers their final touchdown-- a carbon copy of the unforced Minnesota fumble on the opening drive. What a totally bizarro game.

Maybe that's what happens when you take a bunch of late teenagers/early twenty-somethings, but them in a pressure cooker for a week, tempt them with an enormous axe, and then have them run into each other for three hours. Yeesh. Honestly, I don't think either team's performance should merit it any kudos. It was just too sloppy and too wide open of a game. But that's an agitated Wisconsin fan talking. I bet for the unbiased observer, it was a heck of a game to watch.


That was a really poor 25 minutes of football there. Three fumbles by three different guys? I don't know how many sacks. Several terrible passes by Sherer. A botched hold on a field goal. Really terrible defense in key spots, again combined with solid defense in others-- typical frustrating Badgers this season. Hell, starting Left Guard Andy Kemp actually sacked Sherer on the play where the stupid Minnesota DT punched Bill Nagy in the head. If they weren't gifted that fumble on Minnesota's first drive, this game would be completely out of hand.

Minnesota has 8 guys in the box thus killing the run, and the line isn't pass blocking well, but until the last few minutes of the half, Paul Chryst kept calling play action passes and seven step drops. I mean, what? I'm putting on my red velour sweatpants, but considering how poorly the Badgers are playing, and that they have shown negative resilency this season, this one looks like a loss.

Captain Neckbeard, v. 2.0, Returns

If you don't speak my weird brand of gibberish, the above title means that it looks like Kyle Orton will be playing on Sunday. See here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Triumvirate Weekend

One of the few blessed weekends of the year is nigh-- 27 hour period in which all three teams that Camp Lambeau is devoted to- the University of Wisconsin football team, the UW men's basketball team, and the Green Bay Packers- play meaningful televised games. Hip hip hooray! Or as Lil' John says-- "Yeah-uh!" I am especially enthused as I have recently been stricken with a hilarious case of shingles (aka "The Shingles"), which has left me couchbound, and usually in the fetal position. (Although it did merit me a Vicodin prescription, so I can't be too upset.) The football games are far more important than the basketball event, but Bo Ryan's team will be playing it's first actual (non-exhibition) game of the season, so that has to account for something.

Anyhow, as U-65 nicely explains below, the UW football team's bowl options hang in the balance tomorrow against the Minnesota Gophers. Actually, UW's ability to go to any bowl whatsoever hangs in the balance. If UW loses, and then goes on to beat Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in 8 days, yes, the team will be "bowl eligible" with six wins. But last season two other Big Ten programs (Iowa and Northwestern) hit the allegedly magic number of six wins, and the only bowling they did was at their local Brunswick-affiliated alleys. So UW needs this win to keep hope alive for any bowl game whatsoever, in addition to all those other excellent reasons-- to have the option of a pretty solid bowl destination, to make sure this year's seniors continue to hold onto the axe, to keep a lid on a big rival, because beating Minnesota is fun, etc.

As far as scouting that game goes, you hope UW will keep up it's MO of late--run the ball effectively, and play passable solid defense. Minnesota's run defense, at least on paper, hasn't played that well, and UW's passing defense is leaky enough that holding onto the ball and having a bunch of punishing ground-oriented drives could be really helpful. In other news, I have no doubt that the crotch-puncher, aka Gopher wideout Eric Decker, who's allegedly out with a sprained ankle, will play. No doubt whatsoever.

The Packer-Bear game on Sunday is equally pivotal for Green Bay. The Packers are 4-5, coming off two very close road losses to decent ('Queens)/very good (Titians) teams, where they didn't play all that well, with neither the offense nor the defense able to get it done when it mattered, and with the refs not helping either (the no-call PI on Jennings in the Titan game, and Peterson taking off his helmet with no penalty against the 'Queens). They stand one game behind Minnesota and the Bears in the standings. This is their chance to pull themselves back into the division race and make a real run for the playoffs. (Since it looks like the runners up in the NFC South and East will take the wild card slots.) And it's a chance for Rodgers to show he can perform under pressure, when teams have had a chance to scout him out, and for McCarthy to show that he can beat Lovie Smith in a meaningful game. With a loss, and upcoming games against New Orleans, Carolina, and at Jacksonville and Chicago, the playoffs are likely out of the question. It's simply a huge game. The most meaningful Packer-Bear game in several years.

Thankfully, the Bears' weakness this season- inability to get pressure and a therefore poor pass defense- matches up with the Packers offensive strength-- throwing the football, when Rodgers can get some protection. Unfortunately, the Bears are running the ball decently, and the Packers have had serious difficultly stopping the run for most of the season. I think this will be a very, very close game, unfortunately, and given the buddha-like Lovie Smith's record against the Pack, I could definitely see it turning South. Let's hope the Sexy One, aka Gross Rexman, makes some key errors, or if Captain Neckbeard, v. 2.0, plays, that his sore ankle makes him immobile enough so he takes some sacks.

But don't despair for long even if the Packers lose, since as that grudge match is ending, the UW men's basketball team will be tipping-off, with their game against Long Beach State set to start at 3 pm on the Big Ten Network. (The Kohl Center is going to look like a Dodger game-- half full until 45 minutes in.) The notable thing about this game will be seeing who hits the floor: Keaton Nankivil is expected to be the fifth starter, but what will the rotation be behind him, and which of the five frosh are going to redshirt? It also marks the return of former Minnesota coach Dan Monson to the Kohl Center. Hopefully, two-Gopher connected teams will leave Madison with losses this weekend, as you'd expect this one to be a nice, encouraging win, with LBSU picked to finish in the middle tier of the Big West.

Anyway, a wild weekend awaits. Set your Tivos!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Paul Bunyan's Axe

Is the greatest rival trophy in college sports and we need to keep it. If you need a quick refresher on how big a rivalry it is for both programs, take a look at this nicely written article.

There are many reasons to want to crush Minnesota this weekend. Let me make clear another. With a win against the Gophers on Saturday and some help, the Badgers could end up as the BigTen 5 seed!  The Badgers could play in either the Alamo Bowl or The Champs Sports Bowl (The Citrus)! After the loss against MI, and the continued downfall thereafter, I was dispirited and rightly so. Yet, with a win against the Gophers on Saturday and some help, we could be a respectable 5 seed!

Batten down the hatches, mateys! It's time to destroy those East-Dakotans that blow so many goats! Let's smash 'em!

Here's what the Badgers need this week:

A win against those ball punching losers from minnesota
An Illinois loss to OSU (this would make IL bowl ineligible)
Michigan wins at home against NW (this is could be a problem, so focus!)

Next week:

IL beats NW
Iowa beats MN

Ensuing Bowl Seeds:

WI-NW-MN tie (goes to WI clearly)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Evidence that Bo Ryan is the man.

Here's a great article on Ryan and Gard's recruiting philosophy. I especially like the part about the rental cars. It just sums up Bo Ryan perfectly.

Another recent discussion I heard about Bo involved somebody questioning whether he would feel dissapointed or had failed somehow if he never made the Final 4. His response was that his job was to teach boys how to be men, to help fill the world with better people. Amazing.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bloomington is Nice

Especially when the Badgers have three different guys, including a wide receiver, rush for over a hundred yards. Really, that game should have been ridiculous from the get-go. They were running all over them from the first play from scrimmage, even without Andy Vanden Huevel, who I fear is lost for the season. (On an odd play where he pulled, ran forward, blocked his guy down the sidelines and fell down. Didn't look like he should have hurt anything.)

Instead, the defense made a few bonehead mistakes in coverage, the Badgers fumbled twice and Sherer threw a completely stupid interception, and Indiana was about to take the lead going into halftime. And then, Jay Valai did what he does best-- lay the wood. And he laid it to the head and neck of Indiana's starting quarterback. The Hoosier QB drops the ball, Andre Levy snatches it up, runs back 50 yards (although he totally outran his blockers), and the Badgers drive a bit before time runs out and kick a field goal to go up four. IU's best offensive hope, their pretty good QB, is out for the rest of the game. Wisconsin scores 31 straight points, shuts out the now hapless Hoosiers, and it's a blow out. But for the first 27 minutes it was close, because of Wisconsin's own mistakes, again.

Anyhow, now they're back to .500 (again), and hopefully will be able to win the last two at home, and qualify for a marginally tolerable bowl game. I know that sounds cynical, but at this point, Wisconsin is really playing for the future. Sure, it's important for the seniors to beat Minnesota one last time and have this class go out with a winning record. But for the program as a whole, I feel that it's more important to keep a somewhat respectable record for publicity and morale purposes, and to start working on things for next season. To wit, I was especially pleased to see guys like Gilreath, Clay, Valai and Toon step forward on Saturday and make big plays. Let's hope they keep it up against the Gophers.


UW-Platteville takes down D-I Bradley University (remember Bradley making a decent run in the tournament a few years ago?) in an exhibition game, in Bradley's home stadium. Most excellent. I have no idea why, but the D-III UW system schools have great men's basketball programs, year in and year out. Some credit, obviously, should go to current UW-Madison coach Bo Ryan, for turning Platteville into a national D-III powerhouse, but still, several other schools in the state (like UW-Eau Claire, and UW-Stevens Points) generally tend to be very good every year. Weird, but very amusing.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


the dome looks full... but sounds empty.
a vacuum in a vacuum.
the horn hasn't blared since daunte scampered.
the d-line is hampered.

and also pampered.
fat bitches with diet pills.
that make you fail drug tests.
put the ribs down fat bitches.

IF YOU LOSE TO US, your fat bitches will cry.
then they'll wave goodbye. as YOU leave.
as it will be your fault.
you took the wrong job.


nice mustache.

(viking horn sound)

Friday, November 07, 2008

In a Hoosier-like State

The woman and I are headed down South this weekend to see the University of Wisconsin football team try to pick up a road win against the University of Indiana Hoosiers. I can't remember exactly when I bought these tickets. I think it might have been before the season started, when I was thinking about how I had never been to Bloomington, and had always heard that it was a nice town.

And, of course, I was thinking that this game would be a gimmie, a cakewalk, a nice pleasant distraction, that would be a cheery appetizer to a day of exploring a new Big Ten college town. But now, despite Wisconsin's rise from the depths of utter sucktitude against Penn State and Iowa, I'm kind of nervous about this game. Lose it, and any shot at a bowl game should go out the window. Seriously. I know you can make a bowl with a 6-6 record, but, I believe, every D-I team with a winning record has to get chosen ahead of you first. And honestly, who would want a 6-6 Wisconsin team with losses to Michigan and Indiana? I sure hope the Motor City Bowl has better taste. Hell, I guess I'm getting ahead of myself. After all, Minnesota has looked somewhat competent lately, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has one of the top scoring offenses in D-IAA.

Anyhow, I will be at the game and will be reporting back. Hopefully, Wisconsin can run all over Indiana, and finally get a solid road victory over another Big Ten team. But we'll see.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Despite the old adage, almost no one hates to say I told you so, so I'm not going to pretend that I do. But man, I wish the Badgers' terrible clock management on their last drive against Michigan State hadn't mattered. Kudos to the pops for spotting this issue right away.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

If you haven't made up your mind yet . . .

If you find yourself torn on this election day between the magna Harvard law grad, basketballing, community-organizing, funny-named Senator from Illinois by-way of Hawaii, and the third generation Navy man, prodigal son, ex-POW, sugar mama marrying Senator from Arizona, maybe this quote will help you make up your mind. This is from the ridiculous ESPN Monday Night Football halftime interview with Obama and McCain last night (man, those guys will show up anywhere as long as it gets on tv, huh?):

Chris Berman: Senator, let's bring it into our arena for a moment. If you could change one thing in sports, what would that be?

I think it is about time that we had playoffs in college football. You know, I am fed up with these computer rankings, and this and that and the other. Get eight teams. The top eight teams right at the end. You've got a playoff. Decide on a national champion.

Couldn't agree more, honestly. The BCS system is plainly BS.

McCain's suggested change would be further cracking down on the use of performance enhancing drugs, which is a bit of an obvious point, though a fair one. (See the transcript here.) The highlight of his interview was this odd quote:

"I watch sports all the time, especially the last few months. My wife Cindy says I would watch the thumb-suckers play the bed-wetters."

Um, I'm a little confused about what McCain is talking about there. He's saying that Cindy thinks he'd watch teams of five-year-olds play each other in football? Or is Cindy imagining some thumb-sucking, bed-wetting competition? (That could actually be entertaining, if watched in fast-forward.) Any other interpretations?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cute Stuff

If you've ever lived on the West Side of Madison, you'll recognize the subject of this story. The Holiday Season doth approach, and the University of Wisconsin Men's Basketball team is helping make the dark months cheery.

Either/Or or Both/And

I can't decide. Was the Green Bay Packers' loss overtime to the Tennesee Titians (yes, I'm directly misspelling that team's name to make it sound like a particular Venetian Renaissance-era painter), a disappointing blown opportunity or an encouraging sign of progress? I mean, taking the "NFL's Best Team" (personally, I think the Giants are better, but whatever) to overtime in their home stadium, is pretty impressive, right?

But man, they had some blown chances, headlined by Aaron Rodgers' almost inexplicable Favre-esque bomb to a double-covered Greg Jennings in the end zone, on a drive where the offense was clicking. The Pack had the ball at the Titians' 40, and came away with nothing. And how many short field goals did Crosby kick? It felt like half a dozen. They'd get down to the Titians' end zone and then stall. Maybe it's because they run out of room for their passing game, or maybe it's because they aren't that great of a running team, or maybe it was the play calling. And how frustrating was it for the Packers' D to do such a great job in the second half, only to roll over when it counted the most? Argh.

Personally, I felt the play-calling broke down a bit on the Packers' last possession. They had a first down on the Titians' 45 with less than 3 minutes left on the clock. Get a first down or two, work it into field goal range, milk the clock, and win this thing. So maybe run the ball, right? After all, it's toward the end of the game, the Titians' defensive line is probably tiring, and Grant's had some success lately (his previous four carries at that point were for 3, 13, 0, and 6 yards). Instead, first down, broken pass play, Rodgers throws the ball away. Only six seconds ticks off. Second down, Titian linebacker Tulloch (who played a great game) tips a tight crossing pass for Jordy Nelson. Incomplete. Third down, predictable screen pass to Brandon Jackson, who goes two yards. 4th and 8 at the 43, out of field goal range, and the Packers punt it away with enough time left so the Titians can put together a field goal drive. The D rolls over twice, and the offense never sees the ball again. Frustrating stuff.

But should we take heart? If we're blaming the Packers' own mistakes for this close of a loss, doesn't that mean the team has really progressed? Isn't this performance a world away from the Cowboys loss? Nearly 400 yards of offense against a top notch defense? Justin Harrell on the field, making stops for no gain, looking like a legit defensive tackle? Forcing overtime, even in a game where your defense doesn't create one turnover?

Maybe it's because the weather has been deliciously mild here in the Chiccy-G the past few days, or because I'm enlivened by the start of college basketball season, but I'm going with "Both/And." This was both a disappointing loss and an excellent sign of the team's progress. Stay healthy, stay hungry, Pack. Get focused on the Vikes.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I Don't Think I'm Ever Doing That Again

Watching "Live Streaming Video" on the Big Ten Network's website is, uh, awful. The speed of the feed kept slowing down, speeding up, stopping, etc. And the sound, the radio broadcast for the game, which could have been great, was about three minutes ahead of the video. Ugh. What crap. Again, why did the Big Ten Network opt to show volleyball on its television channel instead of some men's basketball exhibitions? I like volleyball, but I'm almost certain the ratings will be higher with basketball, even an exhibition game. So yeah, the point is I watched the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team beat Augustana College in their first exhibition game last night, on the Big Ten Network's website, and it was an unpleasant viewing experience.

Anyhow, here's the box score. Again, Augustana College is a D-II school, which means some of their guys are on scholarship, and they did make the D-II tournament last year. They had some decent ball-handlers, and they had some good jump shooters. (I love Bo's post-game comment that "They can shoot it. Division II, Division III teams, you don't play H-O-R-S-E with them." As a former D-III athlete, I agree.) But Augustana was not tall, I bet their tallest guy was 6'8", and they were not particularly athletic. Thus, the Badgers scored a fair amount of points in the paint.

In particular, Landry scored a lot, although about a third of his points were two three-pointers that bounced around the rim. He's looking very fluid and confident on the offensive end. Leuer looked like you'd want him to-- hit a three, scored in the paint, took his guy to the basket once or twice. Bohannon nailed a bunch of threes-- his release looks to be quicker than the last two seasons, which is very exciting. Frosh Jordan Taylor was strong with the ball, and made good decisions; plus, that kid is flat out built. He looks more like a running back than a point guard. Mystery frosh Ryan Evans played a fair amount and looked pretty good, grabbing some offensive boards, slashing to the basket a couple of times. That was reassuring, because after reading that he didn't do much in the scrimmage I was starting to get a bit worried. The frosh big men-- Ian Markolf and Jared Berggren-- looked fine, large, not awkward with the ball, and reasonably mobile. No worse than Stiemsma or Butch as freshman, and well above the Gavinski/Mader level, at least in my opinion. But I bet one or both redshirt. And yes, the frosh can play in these exhibition games without burning their redshirts. It'll be interesting to see what happens on that front. All I know is that Taylor is not redshirting. That kid is going to be a consistent contributor.

Finally, regarding frosh Robert Wilson-- ATTENTION, ATTENTION: we have an impending paradigm shift! Wisconsin is no longer a clean cut and wholesome team! That is, (the horror, the horror)-- Wilson has a visible tatoo. The team's Hoosier-esque, 1950s image is irretrievable shattered. What's next, players with unkempt hair or, god forbid, headbands? Hell, we might as well join the Big East. What a terrible recruiting oversight, Bo. This is what happens when you give a scholarship to a kid from Cleveland.

(The above paragraph was said in jest, of course. Wilson looked quite good, a legit 6'4" or 6'5", smooth with the ball and his shot and scrappy on defense; he does not seem to be a redshirt candidate.)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

KGB Released; Stays Classy

A particular disgruntled ex-Green Bay Packer could take some notes from Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, who's tenure with the Packers has just come to an end. KGB was released today to make room for Justin Harrell's return to the active roster, and he probably knew it was coming, given his large salary, his age, and his lack of production this season. KGB was always known as a very devout guy, and one who not only talked of religious morality, but, unlike many, applied this morality to his life honestly and faithfully. To wit, he was a humble person, and a class act. The statement he put out commenting on his release shows that well---

"My nine years as a Green Bay Packer have been a blessing that is beyond words. I thank God for bringing me to this first-class organization and first-class community . . . I don't know what my football future holds, but one thing I've realized is that football is more than a game -- it's about building relationships and changing lives."

Good luck to you, KGB. You'll always be a Packer.

I don't mean to be a dick, but...

Why is the Big Ten Network airing a women's volleyball game tonight instead of the male basketball Badgers' first exhibition game? If they care about ratings, it doesn't make any sense to me.

Ummm, Wow.

This year's Wisconsin football team is the least clutch group I can remember. And maybe the least heady, and maybe the unluckiest. Just absolutely bizarre. Too much is bouncing around in my head for a coherent post, so thoughts:

- 12 penalties. 12. Part of that is Michigan State picking on Brinkley, but still.

- Did anyone else notice that on UW's last drive, they kept snapping the ball with ten seconds or so left on the play clock? The Badgers did the same thing on their last drive against Illinois. This may set a new record for stupidity, and is something that would never, ever have happened under Alvarez. Barry was a king of clock milking. On that last drive, especially after they got a couple first downs, there was absolutely no excuse for not running the play clock down to a just a few seconds on every down. I think they could have worked at least another 30 to 40 seconds off on that drive had the done that properly. I guess that error is on Sherer, but the coaching staff has got to make sure he thinks to do that. Who knows how the game would have turned out had they been smarter? Just ridiculous.

- Strange to think that game is a win if John Moffit just keeps his hands a little more inside on his guy on that last third and 1. Although that type of a hold happens a lot, and is not called all that often . . .

- The Bielema errors-- first, the fifteen yard sideline penalty. Nice one, coach. Even if the refs make a really bizarre, stupid call, you're the head coach. Control yourself. And did anyone else besides you think calling a timeout on the last real play was a good idea? Isn't a hurried Sparty kicker better than a composed Sparty kicker? And if the excuse is, "we wanted our blocking unit out there," well, first, why weren't they ready to begin with, and second, has UW blocked one kick this year? I don't think so.

- Too bad there was no depth behind Niles Brinkley with Mario Goins injured and the frosh behind him apparently not capable. It's weird to think about, but what would this season have been like if Aaron Henry had recovered from his knee injury? Maybe this game's a win, maybe the Michigan and/or Ohio State games are too. Weirdness.

- I'd like to hear defensive coordinator Dave Doeren explain the six man blitzes on key downs on Sparty's last drive, when the only sacks UW was getting all game were coverage sacks. And I'd like to hear him explain why Sparty converted so many third and longs.

- The obvious-- who would have thought that UW holds Ringer to less than 3 yards a carry, PJ Hill and John Clay both break a hundred yards rushing, Sherer only has one turnover, and Wisconsin loses? No one, I bet.

- To be fair, Wisconsin wouldn't have had the lead had late in the game anyway if Sparty's receivers made some damn plays. I haven't seen that many bad drops since the Wisconsin-Michigan game in September.

- Anyone else notice that UW's defensive backs often aren't in position to make plays on the ball? They give their guys huge cushions, and are generally in the right spot to make the tackle, but they appear willing to give up completions.

- In retrospect, how huge was that Phil Welch missed field goal to start the second half?

- Here comes the Motor City Bowl. If Wisconsin can beat Minnesota and Cal Poly in Madison, and doesn't let the Hoosiers use them next weekend. Hey, maybe it'll help with Michigan and Ohio recruits. (That's a joke.)

- Given what just happened, and that the Packers will likely go down tomorrow afternoon, some badly needed tonic happens tonight in three hours--- the Wisconsin Men's Basketball team plays their first game, albeit an exhibition. Check here to allegedly see a live stream of the game.

- Late addition: Amen, Michael Hunt.

Wow! Finding new and creative ways to lose.

Something is amiss. We used to win this game. We used to be the tough team that would bend, but not break.
This is a coaching problem. By no means am I jumping on the "Fire Brett" bandwagon. I think he, like every coach, deserves to have an off year. Sometimes things just break the wrong way. All I am saying is that the honeymoon is over. If the Badgers continue to look mentally soft and continue to struggle making in game adjustments, in my mind these are coaching deficiencies. Good coaches recruit kids who they believe will succeed in their system and then instill mental toughness in them as they develop.
Brett gets the benefit of the doubt from me for now. If los Badgers continue to fold like tacos in years to come, it may be time to look for a new coach. That is an argument for another year.