Montee Ball and the Badgers showed the country they are for real.
I have never seen a better Jump Around at Camp Randall. Bodies bobbed up and down from section J to Z2, back around full circle, except for the sad shadowy pockets of black that looked dour under the night sky even before the Badgers started pouring on points. At least somebody was ready for the funeral.
After four weeks of handwringing leading up to what was the game of the season (until the next one, stay focused), neither team pulled any tricks. The Badgers and the Huskers stared each other down, and dared the other to beat them doing what they do best. It was the Badgers who blinked first, with Nebraska holding the karmic upperhand and a 14-13 lead following a blocked extra point early in the second quarter. Then Wisconsin pulled a rope-a-dope: Mike Taylor intercepted Taylor Martinez' pass at the Wisconsin 47, Russell Wilson hit a diving Jared Abbrederis for a 36-yard touchdown pass six plays later, and Wisconsin seized control of the game and its Rose Bowl destiny because it was at that moment that they began to lay out, in no uncertain terms, every reason why they were better than anything the conference had to offer, right now.
And the emphasis on right now is important because there is still most of a season to go, and things could happen that I don't want to mention for fear of mitigating my ongoing contact buzz from the win Saturday. I will no doubt be chewing my fingernails when Wisconsin once again flirts with doom in another game tied at 0-0 in the first quarter.
But for right now? This is awesome.
You're going to like the links this week:
Just to get it out of the way, here's Ivan Maisel's attempted buzzkill. I understand why you are worried about the whole "Rent-a-Player" thing, but Russell Wilson clearly isn't Cam Newton, so stop it.
Speaking of Wilson, I was kind of surprised that he only landed at No. 5 in ESPN's Heisman watch after the game. Then again, I think I've clearly lost any ability to be objective about this year's team, so what do I know.
By the way, here's the Wilson feature from College Gameday in case anyone missed. It is definitely worth another view even if you did catch it live.
Here are this week's statistical nuts and bolts from Jeff Potrykus of the Wisconsin State Journal. Now with commentary!
This week's Badgers Roundtable has some great stuff per usual. Very little to complain about outside of kickoff coverage, which was alarmingly bad. Luckily there's a bye week forthcoming to shore things up.
From Doctor Saturday: The only thing that can stop Wisconsin is Wisconsin.
If Wisconsin faces Nebraska again in the B1G Championship, you can bet that sticking with the run game will be priority No. 1 for the Huskers.
Tom Oates says that it's time for the Badgers to start thinking big. Does it seem like Bret Bielema is talking an especially big game to anyone else? I haven't figured out whether he's going overboard on the swag or not.
The Badgers are very much in the national championship picture, coming in at No. 5 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and No.4 in the AP.
More dissection of Nebraska's offense. Nine penalties for 80 yards is another reason why a Round 2 might be a little closer. Maybe not 31 points closer, but closer.
Another view from the outside: Nebraska would have had to play near-perfect football to have a chance on Saturday according to Steven Sipple.
Abbrederis bounced back extraordinarily well from what could have been a crippling error.
Say what you want about Nebraska's offensive identity crisis, that was a remarkable performance from a very shorthanded Wisconsin defense.
Haven't had enough yet? Well, here's some more drooling over the Badgers' offense. Wisconsin is one of just three teams averaging over 240 yards rushing and passing in college football.
Wrapping up: Best weekend ever for Wisconsin sports as a whole?