First off, I apologize for being a little out of touch yesterday during a busy day of Badger sports. I was planning on being in Ann Arbor but instead I was assigned to cover the Northwestern-Illinois game at Wrigley Field for 670 The Score.
I guess you could say I was scouting Wisconsin's next opponent. And because I neglected you yesterday, I thought I'd give you my Victory Monday post a day early.
It's safe to say the WIldcats aren't very good anymore. It's obvious Northwestern is simply not the same team without Dan Persa. He carried NU to seven wins, but without him I'm not sure the 'Cats win again.
But last time I checked, Persa didn't play defense for Northwestern. The NU defense has been OK all season long but yesterday they let Mikel Leshoure set a new Illinois' record for most rushing yards in a game with 330.
It's kind of scary to wonder how many rushing yards the Badgers will manage against Northwestern, especially if John Clay is back in the fold.
If you missed it, Wisconsin and Northwestern will play on ABC at 2:30 p.m. The Big Ten was waiting to see yesterday's results before locking up the television schedule for next week. With Michigan State and Ohio State playing at 11 a.m. it's possible the Badgers could enter Saturday's game knowing a win would lock up at least a Rose Bowl berth.
I'm convinced Michigan State will lose at Penn State Saturday and that would mean if Wisconsin beats Northwestern the Badgers would be guaranteed the Rose Bowl -- unless they somehow end up in the National Championship Game, of course.
If Michigan State and Ohio State both win, then unfortunately I don't think Wisconsin can parade around with roses after beating Northwestern because the tiebreaker is BCS standings and those won't be released until Sunday. (Update: In fact, it's the FINAL BCS standings on Dec. 5 that decides who goes to the Rose Bowl, so it wouldn't be official for another week.)
Of course if Ohio State somehow loses to Michigan at home and Michigan State also wins, then the Badgers will know their Rose Bowl hopes are over before kickoff. They would still be playing for a share of the Big Ten title and a BCS at-large berth, however.
Is it wrong for me to be looking so far ahead? Am I too confident about Wisconsin winning Saturday?
Like I said, I saw Northwestern play in person Saturday and they just aren't a very good football team anymore. How is a team with a redshirt freshman quarterback and a defense that can't stop the run supposed to beat the Badgers at Camp Randall with the Rose Bowl on the line?
I just don't see it happening.