Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Now that UW finds itself ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll, what are the chances of it finishing there?
This is the 20th time in program history that the Badgers have been ranked in the AP top 10 at some point in the regular season. So far their record for sustaining that level of quality is under .500.
UW has closed out a season ranked in the top 10 nine times: 2006, seventh; 1999, fourth; 1998, sixth; 1993, sixth; 1962, second; 1959, sixth; 1958, fifth; 1951, eighth; and 1942, seventh.
The Badgers have been ranked in the top 10 at some point in the season 10 other times and failed to close the deal: 2008, was ninth and finished out of the top 25; 2007, was fifth and finished 18th; 2004, was fourth and finished 16th; 2000, was fourth and finished unranked; 1994, was 10th and finished unranked; 1963, was second and finished unranked; 1955, was sixth and finished unranked; 1954, was second and finished 17th; 1952, was first and finished 11th; and 1947, was ninth and finished unranked.
Let's hope the Badgers can finish what they started. GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
In head coach Bret Bielema's weekly news conference Monday, he addressed some of the keys in the victory over No. 1 Ohio State, as well the team's preparation for this week's game, and battle for the Heartland Trophy against Iowa.
Bielema began press conference by giving thanks to those who support the team off the field.
"I just wanna say thanks to all the people who were in Camp Randall on Saturday, especially our student section," Bielema said. "I thought, coming out of the tunnel, there was a huge difference, and I really thought they [the fans] were into it the whole game, and the way we started it you'd think to believe it had an effect on our players as well."
Bielema also gave recognition to his players.
"In that game you can't give enough recognition to guys that made things happen."
The Badgers' offensive MVP honors went to junior running back John Clay and freshman running back James White. This dynamic duo of power and speed combined for 179 rushing yards and three touchdowns against a team who had not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 29 games. The offensive line also received recognition for this dominant running performance, especially senior tackle Gabe Carimi and senior guard John Moffitt.
The Badgers' defensive MVP was spread around as well.
Senior linebacker Blake Sorensen was one who received high regards. Sorensen totaled up ten tackles for the Badgers, as well as an interception to all but end the game.
Junior defensive end J.J. Watt also received recognition. Watt was in quarterback Terrelle Pryor's face all night, and had four tackles, three of which were for loss, including a pair of sacks.
The last defensive MVP was junior cornerback Antonio Fenelus. Fenelus played solid coverage all night, breaking up a pass and recording six tackles.
The special teams MVP this week went to return man David Gilreath, who electrified the Camp Randall crowd, returning the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Gilreath also earned conference honors as special teams player of the week.
Bielema realizes though that the team's focus now needs to be on the next oponent at hand.
"[Iowa is] a very talented football team that is playing very, very well," Bielema said. "A lot of the same keys to victory against Ohio State, at least offensively, will be very, very similar."
Iowa, 5-1 iscurrently ranked No. 15 in the BCS standings, and is coming off a 38-28 victory over Michigan. In that game, senior quarterback Ricky Stanzi completed 17 of 24 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns, all of them to senior wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. Despite this vaunted pass offense, Bielema expects to see a strong dosage of the run game from Iowa. This mostly comes from the success of sophomore running back Adam Robinson, who averages 4.8 yard per carry and has eight touchdowns.
This game between the Badgers and the Hawkeyes will be their 86th meeting, with Iowa leading the series just slightly, 42-41-2. But good news for Badger fans. Wisconsin has won seven of the last 13 meetings. This game will be just as big for the Badgers as the game against Ohio State because if the Badgers lose, they can likely say goodbye to a possible BCS bowl and a chance at a Big Ten conference title.
Lets hope Bucky can keep it rolling. GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
In his weekly press conference on Monday, head coach Bret Bielema acknowledged the team's win over Minnesota this past weekend, while also looking forward to Ohio State this coming week.
Although John Clay won Big Ten co-Offensive Player of the Week for his performance on Saturday, Bielema chose a different player for his own team honors.
That title went to a group who normally do not receive any attention at all, unless they play poorly, the big bruisers up front, which are offensive line and senior jumbo tight end Bill Nagy.
"I give credit to those five guys [on the offensive line] and Billy [Nagy] for a lot of what James and John are going through now, the success they're having, and really even us throwing the ball all starts with those guys up front," Bielema said.
The Badgers' defensive MVP went to sophomore linebacker Mike Taylor. Taylor racked up seven total tackles, three of which were tackles for loss.
"Mike had a great game. [He] really became a lot more sudden over the last couple weeks and it paid off and [he] made some nice plays behind the line of scrimmage," Bielema said.
Bielema was impressed by the team as a whole.
"Our kids, they did a good job of regrouping last week and put themselves in a position to have success on Saturday," Bielema said. "I really like how they handled the week, and now we move forward to go against Ohio State, those same principles we gotta carry forward, and hopefully have the same type of results. I know our guys are excited."
At one point, Bielema was asked about his failure thus far to beat Ohio State as head coach at Wisconsin.
"Each game has been a little bit different, but the common denominator in all of them was we weren't able to hold together [ and do] what we needed for 60 minutes," Bielema responded. "The game is a 60-minute game. It's 60 minutes of reactions to what happens and we have to handle it better than we have in the past."
In Bielema's three career games against Ohio State, his teams have lost by an average of 14 points, including last year's 13-31 stomping at Columbus.
Ohio State comes into this game 6-0, 2-0 in the Big Ten, averaging a margain of victory of over 30 points.
The star of the Buckeyes is junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who comes into this year as one of the clear favorites for the Heisman Trophy. In Pryor's last game against Indiana, he completed 24 of 30 passes for 334 yards and three touchdowns. The Badgers will have to find a way to shut down Pryor's dynamic ability of both passing and running if they plan to take down the top-ranked Buckeyes.
The Badgers will be hosting the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time since 1997, and are 3-5 all time against No. 1 teams at Camp Randall Stadium. This game will also be played at night, which is good news for Badger fans, because Wisconsin has won 25 of its last 28 games at night, including a 17-10 victory over Ohio State at Camp Randall in 2003.
Lets hope Bucky can pull off a miracle. GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Since Saturday's loss against Michigan State, plenty of people have noted that head coach Bret Bielema's career record against ranked Big Ten teams now stands at 1-8. Minnesota is not ranked this year-not even close, really-but they are Wisconsin's archrival, and Bielema has their number.
The fifth-year head coach has yet to spend his first day at the helm of the Wisconsin football program without having possession of Paul Bunyan's Axe. Factor in two straight wins to close out the rivalry under the tenure of Bielema's predecessor, Barry Alvarez, and the Badgers check in with six straight wins over Minnesota.
By beating Minnesota every year since 2004, no player currently on Wisconsin's roster has lost to the Gophers. Senior tight end Lance Kendricks said he has no interest in finding out how it feels.
"For me, having the axe ever since I've been here is very special," said Kendricks, who caught a fourth-quarter touchdown that put UW up 24-13 against Minnesota last year. "That's something to be proud of."
Though none of the Badger players have lost possession of the Axe, some of the upper classmen do know what it's like to lose grip on a rivalry trophy. In 2008, Wisconsin carried the Heartland Trophy into Iowa City after a dramatic win the year before, but suffered a 38-16 blowout and watched as the Hawkeyes came to take it away.
"They ran on our sideline and we were getting bumped by fans on the field," said senior strong safety Jay Valai, a sophomore at the time. "It was just a disgusting feeling."
Given the style Wisconsin plays, it should come as no surprise that the Badgers run the ball very effectively against the Gophers. Each of the last ten matchups between the two schools has seen a UW running back compile at least 100 yards on the ground. On top of that, a Wisconsin running back has found the endzone at least twice in eight of the last nine meetings.
Notable rushing performances in recent memory include a 2002 matchup in which Anthony Davis rolled up 301 rushing yards on 45 carries, and last year's game which saw then-sophomore running back John Clay rush for 159 of his 186 yards in the second half.
Clay's second half performance in 2009, along with a timely strip from defensive end O'Brien Schofield helped UW overcome a 14-13 halftime deficit and keep Minnesota's late-game chances to a minimum. Close calls seem to have become the norm in this rivalry.
In 2005, it took a miraculous blocked punt and touchdown for Wisconsin to cap off a ferocious fourth-quarter comeback and claim a 38-34 victory in the Metrodome. The last three years, UW has won by a combined thirteen points. No matter the fashion, the Badgers look run their win-streak to seven and keep Paul Bunyan's Axe in Madison.
"The best part of the rivalry is when the clock is winding down and you're up," sophomore center Peter Konz said. "Even if guys are talking smack, it's down to the final score. You know you did your job when the score reads what it's supposed to read."