Badger Bits: Toon ready for second chance at roses

When Nick Toon scores a touchdown, the Badgers are 12-0. That being said, we hope you find the end zone in Pasadena, Nick.

Senior wide receiver Nick Toon has had a prolific career as a Wisconsin Badger. Undaunted by the shadow of success his father Al Toon created as a wide receiver in Madison, Nick has piled up the third-most receiving yards in school history with 2,343 in his four seasons at Wisconsin. But not everything in his college career has gone perfectly.

This season, Toon leads the Badgers in many relevant receiving categories, but at times he has been overshadowed by breakout performer Jared Abbrederis, who narrowly trails Toon in those aforementioned categories. Even third-string receiver Jeff Duckworth stole much of the spotlight after his spectacular catch on fourth down to keep the Badgers alive in the Big Ten Championship. Despite the preponderance of the "TOOOOOOOOOOON" chant on Saturdays at Camp Randall, many fans see Toon as a player who is too fragile and having an attitude that doesn't quite fit with the Wisconsin Football narrative. A crucial dropped pass and a lackluster 3 receptions for 46 yards in the Rose Bowl did even less to endear Toon to the fans.

Which is why this Rose Bowl is incredibly important for Toon. It's a great stage for him to firmly establish his legacy as a Badger, on his terms. It's the last game of his career and it's a chance at redemption after last year's performance and loss. On January 2nd, I hope to see Toon end his career as one of the best receivers in Wisconsin history in style.

Football:

The Badgers landed in sunny Los Angeles yesterday. They had a chance to check out the Rose Bowl Stadium, and today is their first practice in California. Videos and photos of the Badgers' bowl prep week can be found here.

Oregon released photos of the uniform it will wear against Wisconsin. As uniforms go, they are quite imposing.

Current running back coach Thomas Hammock may be moving up in the Badgers' coaching ranks.

Many Badgers used the Rose Bowl loss last year as motivation to get back to Pasadena this year. Aaron Henry says a loss again this year would be like having to eat a cake with no icing.

A Q-and-A with an Oregon beat writer who picks the Badgers to win, 28-24.

How do Oregon and Wisconsin match up when it comes to speed and size? Tom Mulhern says a big concern should be the ever-present big play ability of Oregon's running backs.

Our own Adam Hoge talked to Oregon blog Addicted to Quack about what we all can expect when Oregon has the ball. Looks like a solid day from our defensive line would go a long way.

Basketball:

Wisconsin opens Big Ten play with a visit to conference newcomer Nebraska. Bo Ryan says it's like playing an extra non-conference game. The atmosphere may be extra saucy considering it's the Huskers' first-ever Big Ten Conference game, but Wisconsin is significantly better and should win the game. Doesn't help that Nebraska is banged up.

Brian Speers of SBNation blog Corn Nation answers our questions about the Huskers and tonight's game here. And our own Phil Mitten introduces Nebraska to our Badgers here.

Big Ten basketball teams looked solid in non-conference play. Is that a product of over-inflated non-conference records or is this going to be one hell of a basketball league this year?

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