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Badger Bits: About that Bret Bielema Grantland article, and why we can't keep sports simple

An anti-HOT SPORTS TAKE on that Grantland piece on Bret Bielema last week.

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That Grantland piece stirred up those December emotions in my gut again, and I was oddly nostalgic. Bielema's move to Arkansas was freeing if anything. I was excited at the time. I felt like one half of a bored couple that had slowly let uncomfortable discord creep between one another. Raise your hand if you were upset that Bielema left, if you kicked in the plaster or shamed the dog for no good reason? Raise your hand if you were truly mad? The breakup felt right, even if it made no sense logically. I'm nervous and happy for the future, however, and apparently so is he, now that we're both out of a relationship that was destined to grow stale.

Jon Bois wrote a piece for SB Nation a couple weeks ago titled "LeBron James is my favorite basketball player." I really liked the piece, though it isn't a brilliant bit of writing. In fact, that may have been the best part, that instead of gathering hyperbole into something that resembles some profound thesis that has already been said dozens of different ways, Bois gives away the underwhelming reveal in the title. Bois just wants sports to be all that they ever are: Large, incredibly gifted men doing things that makes us emit "ape noises and slap furniture with big, palms-out smacks." You know, the things that make us happy.

Cynicism is a scary thing to me. I've been visibly, audibly ashamed of myself whenever a thought I dislike enters my head. Cynicism is something that has infiltrated sports writing in a big way, where every decision and every player is cataloged as a Zoroastrian source of all good or all evil with no sense of empathy or sympathy, or that in another universe our own life choices may have been laid bare for others to pick apart. I find myself tiring of sports writing, even when it's good and poignant, because sometimes I just want to like the players and teams I watch, without acknowledging the rabbit hole.

In the end, the simplest, most obvious explanation for Bielema's move was correct: The man wanted to do something on his own. Mike did a nice job going over the nitty gritty takeaways from the Grantland article, the way Bielema is described as a CEO and the way he carries himself on the field. I took away simply this: That Bielema is happy where he is. Not that he wasn't happy in Madison, but something didn't feel right, which you know as well as me. We don't have to feel good, or bad, or jealous. Our feelings will not be cataloged for posterity. I am glad Bret Bielema is gone, and I wish him all the best.


I'm not sure why this is buried all the way at the bottom of a (albeit interesting) profile on Austin Kafentzis, but it appears that Vonte Jackson will miss the 2013 season after suffering yet another knee injury. The news is awful for every reason. Jackson was one of the prized recruits of a small 2012 recruiting class, and he was set to potentially be the next-man-in after James White and Melvin Gordon at running back with Jeffrey Lewis moving to safety and Corey Clement being a true freshman. The loss of Jackson could end ideas of redshirting Clement, and stem Lewis' development at safety if he needs to divide his time at practice to take reps on offense. Bummer.

Jesse Collins handled last week's Wisconsin hate piece at OTE. Kind of poignant, actually, but whatever. /Wisconsin scores again

More proof that Wisconsin is one of the best programs in the country at developing talent for the NFL. Land-Grant Holy Land explains the study and methodology. Very interesting stuff, not only because it concludes that Kentucky is developing talent better than anyone, but also that it kind of makes sense.

Stanford head coach David Shaw gave a TEDx talk about how football is going to change the world that everybody is digging on:

Ohio State will be deploying a 3-3-5 stack against spread teams this season. Wisconsin won't see it, but good read nonetheless.

Those jerks who vandalized Howard's Rock will hopefully be caught soon.

WRAPPING UP: Schools are coming out with new fragrance lines. No, I don't know what Wisconsin's #badgerscent should be called or smell like. It's 2 a.m., leave me 'lone. Be more clever in the comments.