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Badger Bits: Alvarez chimes in on 'hot seat' talk

Tom Dienhart from recently talked with Barry Alvarez who said Bret Bielema is not on the hot seat -- surprise, surprise -- but Alvarez actually said more than you might expect:

"Is Bret on the hot seat?," Alvarez said. "I wouldn't say he's on the hot seat. What happens if he goes 7-6 again? I think it depends on how you go 7-6. If it's coaching mistakes, it's different than if you lose tough ball games. Guys are playing solid football."

Personally I think Alvarez is saying a lot right there and it's nice to hear. He's holding Bielema accountable for the coaching mistakes he made last year and can't afford to make again. For most fans -- save the ones that allowed the Badgers to force them into a season long alcoholic state and repeatedly call for Bielema's job after only one bad season -- that's all they wanted to hear. They just needed to know that Bielema wasn't just getting a free pass because he's young, inexperienced and Barry's guy.

Wisconsin looks to bounce back strong -- Chicago Tribune
The Badgers took over the back page of the Chicago Tribune's sports section this morning. There's a giant picture of Dustin Sherer and a story previewing the 2009 Wisconsin Badgers.

Unfortunately Shannon Ryan couldn't avoid another confusing sentence/factual error (sometimes I honestly can't tell the difference with how she writes these things).

She says, "The Badgers must face the top three teams in preseason polls in their first four Big Ten games."

Again, factual error or just a confusing statement? Ryan is referring to UW playing Michigan State, Ohio State and Iowa in three of their first four conference games, but what preseason polls? Every poll I have seen has Penn State in the top three instead of Iowa. The official preseason media poll has Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State 1-2-3.

The bottom line is that she refers to the Badgers' schedule as "rough". I guess that four-game stretch is tough but the other eight games are more than winnable. In fact, UW skips Penn State and Illinois this season which gives it a very favorable schedule. Overall, it's far from "rough," but Ryan's coverage of college athletics could be described that way.

(For the record, this isn't about one little statement about UW's schedule. Shannon Ryan does this at least once a week. And I'm just bitter because the Tribune fired all their good writers to save money.)

Book it: Northern Illinois looking for growth -- Chicago Tribune
And right next to the Badgers' story on back page of the Tribune sports section is a story about UW's first opponent: Northern Illinois.

Receivers want the lead role -
Tom Mulhern has a good story on the wide receiver competition this year. Did you know it has been four years since a wide receiver led UW in receptions or receiving yards?!?

Jessie Vetter a finalist for sportswoman of the year -
Former UW goaltender Jessie Vetter is the all-time NCAA division 1 leader in victories and shutouts in women's hockey and now she is a finalist for the Women's Sports Foundation sportswoman of the year award.