Author's Note: Throughout the season, I'll be sitting down with my sports therapist to sort out my feelings on the latest in Badgers sports. Sometimes we make serious progress, and sometimes we revert back to terrible habits. All in a day's work. As always, anything I said is denoted with a [G] and anything my therapist said is denoted with a [D]... for doctorate.
[G] Helluva week to be a Badger fan, eh?
My therapist nods, but he doesn't say anything. This isn't surprising, but clearly our last meeting's relationship was a one-time thing.
[G] So I'll get us started here today by saying that I'm really glad we kept the axe. Everyone was all panicky when we went down 17-3. Minnesota is improving, but they haven't proved they can put together four quarters against us. One day they'll beat us, but until then, chop that goal pos,t baby!
[D] Victory made sweeter that David Cobb played?
[G] Absolutely. For two main reasons. 1. I want to beat teams when their best players are playing. Cobb is a really good player, and I don't want Minnesotans saying that "Had Cobb played, we would have won." He dominated our defense in the first half. 2. Our defense dominated him in the second half. He was limited to 29 yards after having 100+ in the first half. That's a pretty great turnaround. Major props to the Arandaconda and his band of miscreants to lock down and adjust.
[D] And the offense?
More on Ohio State
More on Ohio State
[G] I can't complain. This two-quarterback system is working. Joel Stave isn't perfect, but he doesn't need to be. He needs to manage the game, make smart decisions and not turn the ball over. When he does that, we have our best chance at winning games. He did that against Minnesota. The running game remains our bread and butter, but it was nice to see some nice YAC stats from Alex Erickson for this game as well. He and Joel did just enough in the passing game to remind Ohio State that it still exists... and can kill you on defense.
My therapist nods knowingly, but doesn't contribute anything further.
[G] It's so easy to talk about what could have been with this football team, but you have to give them a bunch of credit for crawling though controversy, losses, dropping in the ranks and naysayers. They've grown into a cohesive unit, and they're figuring out how to win close games both on the road and at home. That's important. Especially given the task at hand this Saturday.
[D] Indeed, the Big Ten Championship Game with Ohio State in Indianapolis. How are you feeling about it?
[G] I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. Just because I loathe Ohio State doesn't mean they aren't pretty good. It's a tough spot for the Badgers, because the media will be critical of them win or lose. Win, and it's, "Well, OSU didn't have their QB." Lose and it's, "Well, I guess Wisconsin can't win big games" or "They can't take care of business" or some bullshit like that.
[D] It's not the critic that counts...
[G] I guess. But that's frustrating as a Badger fan. Regardless, this will not be an easy matchup. Cardale Jones is 6'6 and 250 pounds. That's massive. He's mobile and extremely athletic. That'll be problematic for the Badgers' D.
[D] But that's to be expected versus the No. 6 team in the country.
[G] You're right. I can't give too much credit to the Buckeyes, because Wisconsin also deserves to be here. They're a helluva team, and I think they're better than No. 11 in the country. Melvin Gordon will be Melvin Gordon. It was nice to see Corey Clement show up big time against Minnesota. We'll need him to more than just spell our Heisman candidate. The longer we keep OSU off the field, the better.
[D] So what's your prediction?
[G] 38-35, Badgers. It's neck-and-neck the whole way through. Melvin has 250+ all-purpose yards. Defense forces a key turnover late.
[D] Anything else related to football you wanna talk about?
[G] I would like to comment on whomever is making these amazing highlight videos following the game. Did you the see the most recent one? This camera shot following Stave out of the tunnel? I think I shed a tear, it was so gorgeous.
[D] They are quite impressive. Perfect for GIF-making as well. Let's move on here. Badger Basketball takes on Duke tonight at the Kohl Center in the marquee matchup in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. How do you think Bo's boys fair against the Blue Devils?
[G] It'll be a dogfight. It was nice for Wisconsin to get some close and hard-fought wins over Thanksgiving break, Georgetown especially. I'd really like to see Wisconsin get back to its impregnable ways at the Kohl Center. I'm most interested to see Frank Kaminsky match up with Jahlil Okafor. Kaminsky can't get in foul trouble early, but I expect him to rise to the occasion tonight. My true hope is that Sam Dekker has a bit of a coming-out party. I especially enjoyed his fire against Georgetown last week. He seems to be chomping at the bit to Alpha Dog one of these games, but the shots just don't seem to fall for him. Maybe tonight is his night. Let's just hope he doesn't hit Nigel Hayes in the head anymore.
[D] That was funny. He didn't really need to punch the ball there, did he? If the Badgers do win, what sort of reaction do you expect?
[G] Well, with two teams so closely ranked, I don't imagine much changing in the polls. I do expect the Grateful Red to act like we've been here before, though...
[D] Fair enough. Any closing remarks before we end today's session?
What the fuck is a buckeye?
* Cues "When the Saints Go Marching In" *