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Badger Bits: The Bret Bielema (non) debate

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Michael Hunt is a columnist-type person who writes for a very big newspaper, and with such a lofty position comes the pressure of having to take a stance on anything and everything whether you want to, or even should. As such, he is constantly exposed to the ire of blogger types who have the time and the snarkiness to tear at his arguments, or poke fun at his language, etc. It's a tough crowd, Michael Hunt, I understand. But man, it's stuff like this

But after the eighth game of this particular season, the Wisconsin coach should not be mentioning the Rose Bowl as if it were a comet.

And that, more than any reason, is why we're right back to the annual Bret Bielema discussion.

You know, the yearly tiresome debate on whether Bielema is the right long-term coach for Wisconsin football.

Of course, the fact it is so constantly revisited by an otherwise forgiving UW community tells you something right there.

If you want, there's a video version of his argument, which also kicks off with the grand premise that Bielema is on the hot seat before wimpering off, concluding with more of a "well yeah, sort of, maybe if he loses the rest of his games this year, okay."

Bielema is not in danger of losing his job, this year or next, but Hunt has an easy argument to make. Maybe the coaching staff did fail somewhere along the way, not coaching up Robert Burge enough on his responsibilities in the three man shield. The final timeout against Michigan State was a mistake according to probably a majority of fans and the sight of Devin Smith standing wide open behind the secondary will never be shaken from my brain. But if you want to hang the man for his failings on Saturday, keep in mind that you lose everything he does Sunday through Friday as well.

The dirty truth is, it is pretty damn impressive Wisconsin was ever in the national title conversation to begin with. These kids weren't supposed to be Alabama or LSU talent-level recruits out of high school. True, nor were Stanford's or Oklahoma State's kids. But for every team that joins the elite ranks for a year with 3-star talent, there are a gaggle of Iowas shuffling through the season, praying for the offseason to come so that fans can numb themselves again with "this is our year" platitudes.

Bielema's staff has done a tremendous job of developing talent and instilling an atmosphere where fans now expect to win. The kind of atmosphere where we can get up in arms over flukey night-game losses on the road to good opponents. The fact that Russell Wilson, someone we can all agree is a near saint in terms of character, chose Wisconsin is a testament to the positive direction the program is heading. Not to mention what is shaping up to be a very impressive haul for the class of 2012. And that whole Rose Bowl thing last year. That was pretty cool.

Be frustrated. You're right, you should be. The Badgers lost two games it should have won. But calling for Bielema's head is nonsense, lest you really want to risk getting Glen Mason'd because Wisconsin only "might" make the B1G Championship game. At the very least wait until the season's over before you start making overtures to have the head football coach fired. There's too much yet to play for to start planning a coup d'etat, and we still need something to talk about in July.


Dr. Saturday weighs in on the race for the B1G Championship game, still thinks that the Badgers get their rematch with the Spartans.

Beau Allen will take over for Burge in the shield.

More on the sorry state of the Badgers' special teams: kickoff coverage has come under scrutiny.

If you need yet another sucker punch this week, read this.

J.J. Denman has been named to the Under-19 U.S. national team and will play in the third annual International Bowl held in Austin, TX. 

You can check out Vince Biegel in the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl as well.

At least Tom Oates is still having fun with this.

Take heart in the fact that UW seems to have plenty of leaders in the locker room. This week's hero is Mike Taylor.

Hammer and Rails does a solid preview of this week's game. The conclusion isn't pretty for the Boilermakers.

Purdue has used five different starting quarterbacks in its last 20 games

The second quarter has been disastrous for the Badgers the last two weeks.