Welcome to the start-of-the-week edition of Badger Bits. I'm filling in for a vacationing John this week, so you're stuck with me until Friday. Let's get to some news and links, shall we?
The Badgers went to Pasadena, California this past December with one goal in mind: start 2011 off with a Rose Bowl victory over undefeated TCU. Unfortunately, TCU remained unblemished and the Badgers headed home with a strong sense of disappointment. It's one thing to lose to a team that is clearly better than you, but the Rose Bowl featured two extremely talented teams. The team that lost had trouble executing the small details: Not keeping their eyes on the ball and catching it before planning your next move. Running 27 total offensive plays in the 2nd quarter and only earning three measly points out of them. Committing too many penalties for a team that thrived on playing disciplined football. Shying away from running the football when that is the team's bread and butter. Making mental defensive mistakes that lead to easy opponent touchdowns.
One game does not define a football team, and a Rose Bowl defeat to a non-AQ conference foe does not erase Wisconsin's 12th Big Ten Championship from the record books. The players who return are likely angry that they weren't able to stake their claim as possibly the best team of the twelve. Wisconsin intends on funneling that anger and disappointment into 2011 preparations, writes Jeff Potrykus. With all the hype surrounding them, the Badgers will have a target on its back this upcoming season. But if they don't make it back to the Golden State next season, it certainly won't be because of complacency.
Bret Bielema likes the new Big Ten format but acknowledges a scary aspect in the prospect of less Big Ten teams in BCS games. It's bad enough when you get shut out of the BCS with a 11-1 record (see Wisconsin 2006), but now even 12-1 Big Ten teams could be in jeopardy of missing out on the BCS if their loss occurs in the Big Ten Championship. The 'what have you done for me lately' principle is terribly overvalued in college football.
Our good friends at The Ohio State University may not be in as deep of a hole as we originally expected. August 12th still looms large, however. No matter what the final ruling is in Columbus, do not expect the Badgers to secure an easy victory at the Horseshoe. I'd go as far as saying that it will be the Buckeyes' most anticipated game of the 2011 season.
Potrykus applauds Bielema's decision to not send Russell Wilson to Chicago for the Big Ten media interviews. I agree, but I will add an additional reason: Wilson's got plenty on his plate right now as it is.
Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth walks into a room with John Clay and Scott Tolzien and announces, "Good news everyone! You've been selected as two of the top NFL rookie free agents by NFL.com writer Gil Brandt! And the NFL lockout is about to end!"
Junior defenseman Justin Schultz assures fans he has no intention of leaving Wisconsin Hockey this offseason, even though Anaheim Ducks were prodding him this summer to do just that.
Germany and Wisconsin are two peas in a pod. So, it's not surprising that Bucky Badger is turning up in Frankfurt. And not just any Bucky Badger, but one dearly clutching a glass ostensibly containing beer. It's true, Bucky does tend to enjoy the occasional adult beverage.