Badger Bits: Wisconsin players in contention for national awards

The two Wisconsin Badger players in this picture were named finalists for national college football awards.

When your favorite college football team sports a 10-1 record along with a great chance of getting an invite to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, that generally means there are some seriously talented individuals playing for that team. Yesterday, it was announced that four Wisconsin players and one head coach are finalists for major national college football awards.

Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (top senior quarterback) - Andy Dalton, TCU; Colin Kaepernick, Nevada; Christian Ponder, Florida State; Ricky Stanzi, Iowa; Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin

Outland Trophy (best interior lineman) - Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin; Rodney Hudson, Florida State; Nate Solder, Colorado

Doak Walker Award (top running back) - John Clay, Wisconsin; Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State; LaMichael James, Oregon

John Mackey Award (top tight end) - Michael Egnew, Missouri, Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin; D.J. Williams, Arkansas

Eddie Robinson Award (top head coach) - Bret Bielema, Wisconsin; Gene Chizik, Auburn; Mark Dantonio, Michigan State; Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; Jim Harbaugh, Stanford; Chip Kelly, Oregon; Gary Patterson, TCU; Chris Petersen, Boise State

Bret Bielema also did some campaigning on behalf of the Wisconsin players up for the awards. Tom Mulhern at Madison.com says Bielema has called voters and endorsed his players for their respective awards, something he's done since Joe Thomas was a finalist for the Outland Trophy in 2006. Thomas won that award, and he is the last Badger to win a major national college football award. That seems likely to change this season, as Carimi and Kendricks are both in excellent position to win their awards. Tolzien and Clay don't seem to be the frontrunners for their awards, but both could state their case with convincing performances this Saturday versus Northwestern.

 

Tuesday Top Five: Most desirable bowl destinations for Wisconsin fans

1. Pasadena, California- It's the Rose Bowl. No need to say more.

2. Glendale, Arizona- If this Wisconsin's bowl destination, then that means the Badgers are in the national championship, which is when location takes a backseat to the circumstances. I think they could hold the NC in Lame Deer, Montana and Badgers fans would be thrilled (and still come out to support the team in droves).

3. New Orleans, Louisiana- Sugar Bowl? A reasonably desirable destination for the Badgers, and New Orleans is the party central of Louisiana. The attractiveness of this bowl option decreases if the scheduled opponent is LSU.

4. Miami, Florida- Florida?!?!?!? Cue the collective groan from the Wisconsin fan base. Badger fans might be getting sick of the Sunshine State, but we're talking a BCS bowl here. The Orange Bowl is much more attractive than the Champs Sports.

5. Tempe, Arizona- The Insight Bowl isn't very high up on the Big Ten bowl pecking order, but if Wisconsin somehow doesn't make a BCS bowl this season, Arizona would be more attractive of a destination then the normal mid-tier Florida bowl.

More Links:

Bret Bielema hopes that the stands are jam-packed on Saturday. The game is obviously very important, but it's uncharted waters as the Big Ten did not previously schedule games on Thanksgiving weekend. It's not yet sold out, and student attendance could be a concern. If you have a ticket and cannot go, please get it in the hands of a Badger fan who can. (This article also notes that Wisconsin's players will be aware of the results in the Ohio State and Michigan State games on Saturday).

Check out how ex-Badgers fared in the NFL this past week. Travis Beckum, Lee Evans, Jim Leonhard, and DeAndre Levy all had good weeks. Did anyone see the fumble O'Brien Schofield caused against the Vikings a couple of weeks ago? Quite an impressive strip of Percy Harvin.

Northwestern has given Wisconsin a fair amount of torment over the years. Iowa fans know what we're talking about.

An odd thing happened in Ann Arbor last Saturday, and I'm not talking about Wisconsin finally winning there. Check it out for yourself.

Three matchups matter in the Big Ten title race, and Adam Rittenberg sets the stage for all three.

Mike Fiammetta at the Badger Herald says the one word to describe how Wisconsin Football is feeling right now is vindicated.

Northwestern blog Lake The Posts is afraid of the Wildcats getting "style-pointed" on Saturday.

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