On the strength of a football program who has played in a bowl game for eight straight seasons and a basketball program who has made it to 12 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, the Wisconsin Badgers have been named the #4 super school in the country by CBSSports.com. The website is counting down the top five schools who have excelled in both basketball and football- and yes, Wisconsin would have been number one if hockey was part of the equation. The University of Pittsburgh came in at rank number five, and although the top three have yet to be revealed, you have to assume that Texas and Ohio State will probably find their way into the rankings. On the same page as the article is a video including a phone interview with Bret Bielema, and here is a link to the basketball-focused companion piece.
There was the likely backlash of comments on the story asserting that Wisconsin is undeserving of being called one of the "Flourishing Five", as posters declared the Badgers no more than above-average in both sports. This is not an unreasonable accusation, as fans of either Florida or West Virginia will be able to generate a decent case for why their team should have been ranked when this is all over. But I think it's important to note that the article was focusing on both present and future success, and I think we can all agree that Wisconsin football and basketball both have bright futures ahead of them.
With football season slowly creeping up on us, I'm going to introduce a new Badger Bits segment to accompany the countdown to kickoff. Check it out...after the jump!I'm going to review the 2009 football season, game by game. For those keeping score at home, that's a total of 13 games. Video highlights will be provided (if available), as well as a short recap by me to summarize the game and put it into context. First up, the season opener versus Northern Illinois:
Northern Illinois Huskies at Wisconsin Badgers, September 5, 2009 - In the only night game at Camp Randall for the 2009 season, Wisconsin opened up the year with what most would consider a cupcake opponent in Northern Illinois. The Badgers entered the season with a surprise QB competition winner in junior Scott Tolzien. Tolzien electrified the crowd on his first snap from scrimmage with a 80-yard bomb to Isaac Anderson to make it 7-0. Anderson also had a touchdown run on a reverse. Bucky had a 28-6 lead going into the 4th, but defensive lapses made it a game again at 28-20 with 3 minutes left. Fortunately, Chris Maragos was able to break up a pass on 4th-and-3 to seal the victory. Wisconsin came away with the win over a lesser opponent, but did nothing to prove that they had gotten over the problems of the 2008 season- bad special teams play and inability to maintain a lead. Tolzien looked promising but somewhat inexperienced.
Tyler Westphal is transferring to North Dakota State. Disappointing considering he was once the top high school player in Wisconsin.
Jason Bohannon's career in Madison is a good selling point to recruits from the state of Iowa.
Check out a preview from the perspective of Ohio State for what should be one of the top Big Ten games of the year: Ohio State at Wisconsin.
Want to know what Wisconsin's chancellor has to say about athletics at the UW?
If I told you that former Badger quarterback Brooks Bollinger might hang up the cleats after this season in the UFL, would you watch any of his games?
The Badger football team tends to play a lot of bowls in Orlando lately. So I would say the news of a new field at Citrus Bowl Stadium is pretty relevant to Wisconsin fans.