In 2011, Russell Wilson led the Badgers to their second straight Big Ten championship title.
The 2011-12 college football season ended with a whimper last night as the Crimson Tide of Alabama made the previously undefeated LSU Tigers look offensively challenged en route to a 21-0 victory in the BCS National Championship. Not many people outside of SEC country were excited about the rematch of the top two SEC squads, and unless you enjoy field goals, the game itself provided little in the way of excitement. Wisconsin had a common opponent with both squads. Alabama beat Penn State 27-11 in State College, while the Badgers obliterated the Nittany Lions 45-7 in Madison. LSU defeated Oregon 40-27 early in the season, while the Ducks held off Wisconsin in Pasadena, 45-38. However, LSU's offense only managed 273 total yards against the Ducks, not many compared to the 508 yards the Badgers had against Oregon.
Did Wisconsin have a better offense than both of the teams in the championship game? There's a solid case to be made for that. But defense wins championships, and the Badgers' defense was certainly an achilles heel at times this season. Without naming names, one defensive end who now plays for the Houston Texans would have been useful on the defensive side of the ball. Still, quarterback Russell Wilson was everything we could have hoped for when he announced his transfer. Montee Ball was a touchdown machine. Nick Toon and Jared Abbrederis made for a dynamic wideout duo. The offensive line was stout as always, and the defense was solid in most games.
Many coaches and players are leaving Wisconsin for new opportunities and challenges. With all of talk focusing on who the Badgers will look at to fill the newly vacant spots, don't forget to sit back and savor the great season Wisconsin football had in 2011. No losses at the Camp. Rude B1G welcoming to the Huskers. Two Hail Mary heartbreaks. A beatdown of PSU to win the Leaders Division. Redemption with a victory over Sparty in Indy. Falling just short in a great Rose Bowl game. 2012 could be special, too. The Badgers are preseason rank #8 for next season, according to Lost Lettermen. A revamped Wisconsin football squad will be back in action September 1, 2012 at Camp Randall to take on Northern Iowa. Until then, On Wisconsin.
Zach Azzanni, currently the offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky, is in the running to be the new Wisconsin wide receivers coach. He will likely be hired as long as the yet-to-be-named UW offensive coordinator is on board with it. Previous wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander took the same position at Arizona State.
Stadium Journey reviews the 2012 Rose Bowl experience. The reviewer had nice things to say about the Badger fanbase, impressed that a large amount of Wisconsin fans stayed for the Fifth Quarter even after a loss.
The Badgers finished at #10 in the AP Poll, just ahead of Michigan State and Michigan. In the coaches poll, Wisconsin finished #11, just behind the two Big Ten teams from Michigan. On the other hand, Badgers basketball is no longer ranked after the tailspin, but is still hovering at #26 in both polls.
Jim Polzin pinpoints the departures of forwards Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil as one of the reasons that the Badgers are struggling on offense this season.
College basketball stats guru Ken Pomeroy has the Badger basketball team ranked 2nd in his ratings. He tries to explain why, calling Wisconsin the biggest outlier ever in his system.
The ESPN Big Ten Blog looks at potential frontrunners for the title of Big Ten Champions in 2012, identifying the challenges each team must overcome.
Check out the Daily Cardinal's photo spread from the Rose Bowl. One standout shot was a photo of the Oregon sideline reacting to the Abbrederis fumble, including an Oregon coach pointing to the ball and presumably telling his players to go pick it up.
Pretty deep discussion here from Jeff MacGregor on the decision many underclassmen, including Montee Ball, must make on whether or not to the go to the NFL. I'm afraid I'm not really sure what his point was, however.
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