Russell Wilson and Montee Ball should really be thought of as a single entity--like, say, a Rutee Balson--for the way their seasons complemented each other last year. Wilson set the NCAA record for single season passing efficiency. Ball scored 39 touchdowns to tie Barry Sanders' mark. Both had shown flashes of talent before last season, but neither was expected to perform at the astronomical levels that he did.
Wilson earned a lot of Heisman hype jumping off from the blowout winner over Nebraska on College Gameday, but Ball garnered the invite to New York by season's end. Of the five players at the ceremony, only Ball and Tyrann Mathieu return, making Ball one of the logical favorites to win this year. Just one problem: Many of the people that helped make him so good, especially Wilson, are gone.
"It is nearly impossible to argue with Ball's production. But the 2012 Badgers are not going to be the same team that set school records for scoring two years in a row. Gone is uber-leader Russell Wilson, offensive genius Paul Chryst and three first-team All-Big Ten blockers. Ball will still post big numbers this fall, but a 1,700-yard, 18-TD season will pale in comparison to his 2011 output - and won't get him back to New York."
That's from Athlon Sports, who pegged Ball as the Big Ten's second-best Heisman hopeful behind Michigan's Denard Robinson. Much of the sentiment is predicated on the accepted consensus that Danny O'Brien won't be Russell Wilson. Which is fair. Wilson put up numbers that, literally, have never been replicated. Then again, it's fair to say most didn't expect Wilson to be as Wilson-y as he was last season. Then he met Montee Ball.
Links after the jump:
IT'S WISCONSIN WEEK AT OTE. Part 12 in the 12-part series is finally here, starting with Ted Glover's breakdown of the good and the bad from last season.
Adam Rittenberg argues that Jim Delany got as much as he could out of the playoff discussions and Tom Oates agrees. I think keeping the semifinals on campus would be infinitely better for fans and schools, nor is it unfeasible. But hey, playoffs!
Sean Keeley at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician argues for an expanded field. Get ready for your next drawn-out foo-fer-rah.
Penn State say "happy trails" to wider receiver Devon Smith.
Wrapping up: Team Speed Kills has a few interesting ideas on how to form a selection committee. I like the idea of embracing bias. A committee modeled after the shouting hullabaloo of British Parliament, and televised, would just about be the best thing ever.