Two weeks ago, "worst case scenario" was Wisconsin being left out of the national championship game if they were among multiple undefeated teams at season's end. After last week's loss to Michigan State, "at least we have the Rose Bowl" became the rallying mantra. Now fans are left wondering just where bottom is.
Wisconsin was tabbed as a potential title contender before the season began due to a potent running game backed by a powered-up passing game with the infusion of Russell Wilson from NC State. Little attention was paid to the defense and special teams because it was simply assumed that they would be "good enough" despite the losses of J.J. Watt, Jay Valai, Blake Sorensen, and co. But the Badgers couldn't stop a reeling Ohio State offense when they needed to. The Buckeyes ran at will, converted key third downs, and as a capper exploited a breakdown in coverage for a final 40-yard nail in the Badgers' coffin.
Not to mention allowing a blocked punt for the second game in a row.
The silver lining now is that there are no more illusions as to what the Badgers are: an occasionally great offense with serious flaws everywhere else, now mired with confidence problems. Wisconsin is officially capable of beating or losing to any team in the country without shocking anyone.
The funny thing is that we still have a chance to look back on this season with fondness. Yeah they will need some help, but a Rose Bowl run is still in the picture, dangling out there like a barely too-far carrot. It will take a more inspired effort than what the Badgers have shown the last two weeks, not to mention some long lost mojo. But that's why it'll be hard, and that's why you should be proud of this team if they somehow do what seems unthinkable now and make it back to Pasadena.
If not, well you know, the world is over, etc., etc.
Journal Sentinel game recap.
Badgers Roundtable is back to break down the Ohio State game, look ahead to Purdue.
Notes, quotes and awards from Saturday's game.
Tom Mulhern reminds us that the Horseshoe is a tough place to play.
Stats potpourri from Dave Heller.
Wisconsin drops to 17th, 18th and 19th, respectively in the Coaches, Harris and AP polls.
Wrapping up: Men's cross country takes 13th consecutive Big Ten title.