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Wisconsin Football Roundtable: Ohio State and other miseries

Let’s revisit, shall we? No, ok that’s fine too.

NCAA Football: Washington State at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

So, uh, anyone have any fun on Saturday?

Tyler- I had a lot of fun Saturday until I turned the game on. I wasn’t able to watch live so I had to record the game and watch back later. I was able to avoid spoilers, but boy, I wish I would’ve just checked the score and moved on about my night as if nothing happened. Would have been much more fun. Thank the Lord for the fast-forward button though.

Ryan - No. Normally I would have turned it off, but I had to watch.

Ok but seriously that was, frankly, an ass-whoopin'. What did you take from it? We’re there ANY positives at all?

Tyler - Meh, no. Braelon Allen had a good game, yeah but they still got absolutely trucked. There were no positives and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise anymore.

Ryan - Braelon Allen had a good game?

Defensively Wisconsin usually has some sort of recipe for OSU but they were purely outclassed. How concerning is that?

Tyler - I would argue Wisconsin only had a recipe for the OLD OSU system. When Urban Meyer was the Head Coach Ohio State stuck with their OLD and STALE system that eventually teams started to figure out how to stop. You knew it was going to be a lot of short passes and QB runs and eventually opponents we’re ready for it. However, Ryan Day ADAPTED his offense to stay with MODERN times and now has the most lethal offense in the sport. Crazy how that works huh? Now, part of that is the massive talent gap that Ohio State has over almost anyone but I still think it is cause for concern. That said if that offense is firing like that nobody is beating them Georgia included.

Ryan - I have long thought that Ohio State is in a class of its own, when it comes to college football. They showed a graphic during the game, showing the number of 4 & 5 star players on each team. Wisconsin had 20, which is a respectable number, but OSU had 66… considering that and the fact that it was a night home game for OSU, I am not too terribly concerned.

On a scale of 1-10 how pathetic was the punt down 21 on 4th and short?

Tyler- 10/10 pathetic, but 0/10 in terms of surprise. It’s been this way for a while. I can count on one hand the number of times Paul Chryst has actually been aggressive in those spots. The game was over after the Mertz pick but that felt like a white flag being waved. It was embarrassing. I am not going to pretend to know what college kids are thinking in those moments but to me, that would make me feel like my coach was not confident in our abilities and that we should just pack it in. That has to be a demoralizing moment.

Ryan - 100. I understand Paul doesn’t want to risk it and put Wisconsin in a spot where OSU has a short field, but c’mon man… a 75-yard field is a short field for OSU.

In 2017 the gap between Wisconsin and others felt somewhat smaller, but now, it feels wider than it has been in a long time. What needs to change?

Tyler- I think a lot needs to change. For one, I think the game of college football has surpassed Wisconsin’s system in terms of X’s and O’s. Think about it, how many teams truly run that style of a pro offense anymore? And successfully? Not many. Now, you don’t have to go full spread offense but you do need to modernize the offense to something that will work in today’s game. Bobby Engram was brought in to do that. What new wrinkle did he put in? The motherfu%*&^ Wildcat???? It’s early, but early returns are underwhelming. Sure, it’s worked against two massively inferior teams but then it hasn’t worked in the other two contests.

I also feel like the game has sort of surpassed Wisconsin in the off-the-field world. When it comes to NIL and the transfer portal Wisconsin was late to the party compared to other schools. They’ve invested resources into NIL now but it feels like they are behind compared to other schools there too.

The same goes for recruiting. Sure, they’ve got a full staff in place now but it wasn’t full staff for how long? Nearly an entire season? That is insane in today’s world of college football and it feels like we’ve just given it a pass! Yes, it's harder to fill those gaps mid-season but now you are behind on another recruiting class. For a school that sells itself as the “best college town in the nation” you should be doing better than 56th in the nation and nearly last in the Big Ten when it comes to recruiting.

Now sure, they can’t compete with the big boys of college football in some of these areas but are they even going to be competing with the medium-sized boys anymore in these realms? I mean just go look at 247’s recruiting ranks for 2023 and see the teams that are in front of them. Don’t want to? Ok, I’ll help you out. Colorado and Georgia Tech are in front of Wisconsin in those rankings. One is the worst team in the power five and another is having a meeting to determine whether they should fire their coach now or later. That is absurd.

Ryan - The graphic I mentioned before showing OSU’s 66 players that ranked either as a 4 or a 5 star is a glaring reason why the gap is wider. Wisconsin would need to attract more top-tier talent, and while I think they can attract more, as they have in recent years, I don’t know if they can compete with the Ohio State’s and Alabama’s of the world, especially with the NIL.

How do you think this team responds next week?

Tyler - Wisconsin has come to play in years past following a loss, so sure, they’ll likely come out and beat Illinois. I sure hope they do. A loss to Bert might cause crisis.

Ryan - We’ve seen this team respond following a loss in the past and I expect nothing less next weekend. They have Bielema and Illinois coming into town, so I think they will come out and put on a show.