The stereotypical question asked when a team enters a tailspin in the course of a season is "can they bounce back from adversity?" But the adversity the Badgers have faced the past two games doesn't fit any of the stereotypes out there.
Two straight primetime road games against opponents more than capable of protecting their home field was enough of a challenge at the surface, but the Badgers made things even more difficult with ill-timed penalties, poor performance in nearly every special teams unit, and other self-inflicted problems that make it incredibly hard to win road games. And then there were the defensive collapses at the end of both games. A lot of players and coaches described the past two weeks as a situation they've never experienced anything like.
Part of Wisconsin's success early in the season was that their opponents were beating themselves. That's not to discount the first six wins the Badgers earned this year, but there were clearly games where Wisconsin was handed a victory. There were two punts by opponents earlier this season that generated more laughs than yards. Plays like that allowed the Badgers to avoid adversity early this season. But Ohio State and Michigan State played the type of football that gave them a chance to win at the end of the game, and they both capitalized on that chance.
But this Wisconsin team can still have a special year. A Big Ten Championship, or maybe even a BCS at-large, are still reasonable goals. The Badgers just have to be confident that they can win every remaining game, because there's no question that they are talented enough to do just that.
Rest assured, the Badgers' coaching staff is just as aware of the punt-blocking problems as the fans are.
Wisconsin probably would have won on Saturday if Ohio State didn't bust a huge kickoff return (thanks to five missed tackles by the Badgers) on the final drive.
Mike Fiammetta at the Badger Herald takes a look at some possible explanations for late game struggles from the defense.
BadgerNation.com's Benjamin Worgull reports that Bret Bielema wants every Badger player to take these losses personally.
Congratulations to Jordan Taylor on being named a preseason first-team All-American by the Associated Press. The only other Badger to ever receive this honor was Michael Finley. Gotta love Bo Ryan slightly raining on the parade by calling himself a believer in postseason recognition.
Adam Rittenberg lays out some roads to Indy for all of the B1G contenders. Our Big Ten rooting interest this week: Indiana over Ohio State....(you know things have gone south when you are rooting for the Hoosiers in football)
Wisconsin fans are the worst in the Big Ten, according to a writer for Ohio State's student newspaper. Fair warning before you click the link- Ohio State might have the worst student newspaper in the Big Ten.
Though the Badgers ranking in the BCS standings is falling, Wisconsin is at least rising in the TiqIQ rankings! Ugh.
We'll leave you off with a video of "real good times" against Purdue. Per Pitbull's advice, let's drink a certain cherry-flavored soft drink and get back to having some real good times this weekend:
Join the Badger conversation on Facebook! Go to our Facebook page and "like" us!
For more Wisconsin Badgers news and tidbits, follow me on Twitter (@AdamTheVictor).