Thursday, May 31, 2012

Top 5 Badger Sports Moments of 2011-2012


1. Badgers beat Spartans in inaugural Big Ten Title Game—December 3, 2011
In the first season featuring 12 Big Ten teams and two divisions, one team stood out in each. In the Leaders, Wisconsin built talk of a national title run before losing in stunning fashion to Michigan State, the best team on the Legends side. Then, after an equally devastating trip to Ohio State, the Badgers needed help to wind up in the inaugural conference title game in Indianapolis. That help gave the Badgers a shot at redemption against the Spartans and, ultimately, delivered Wisconsin to its second straight Rose Bowl thanks to a karmic final blow.
Montee Ball rushed for 96 yards and two scores as the Badgers raced to a 21-7 first quarter lead. The Spartans dominated in the second quarter, as they’ve become accustomed to doing against Bret Bielema and Co. The teams traded scores through the night set in an electric stadium in the middle of an incredible host city. UW didn’t quite hail Mary, but when Jeff Duckworth flagged down Russell Wilson’s desperation heave on 4th and 6 in the closing moments, the Badgers put the finishing touches on a Big Ten season of resilience and offensive firepower.
They were rewarded with a trip to Southern California.
—Parker Gabriel
2. Rob Wilson goes off at the Big Ten Tournament—March 9, 2012
Senior forward Rob Wilson was the perfect Badger to go for 30 points in a 79-71 win over Indiana in the Big Ten men’s basketball conference tournament.
The moment wouldn’t have made this list if senior guard Jordan Taylor had dropped a 30-spot. Heck, Russell Wilson could have suited up and scored 10, and that still wouldn’t have made for a better moment than Rob Wilson’s.
The thing was, nobody saw it coming. Wilson had been in head coach Bo Ryan’s doghouse for much of his junior year and—despite increased minutes down the stretch his senior year—was regarded as the seventh or eighth man in Ryan’s rotation. Wilson’s season-high up to that point had been an 11-point showing in a 67-66 loss at Iowa. If opponents prepared for Wilson, his scouting report was pretty simple: He can make open three-pointers, so don’t give him too much space on the perimeter.
But none of it mattered that afternoon in Indianapolis. Wilson blew his 11-point night out of the water with 11 field goals and finishing 7-of-10 from behind the arc against the Hoosiers. Despite Wilson splashing a couple early three-point shots, Indiana’s defense couldn’t contain him.
—Vince Huth
3. Men’s cross country team claims fifth national title—November 21, 2011
2011 was a banner season for the Badgers’ men’s cross country team as their Big Ten Championship only served as an appetizer for the squad’s ultimate goal—a national championship.
Wisconsin began a cold, damp day in Terre Haute, Ind., as the No. 1 ranked team in the country and left with the program’s fifth national title, and first since 2005.
The Badgers fielded an impressive roster, including four All Americans—seniors Ryan Collins and Elliot Krause, and juniors Reed Connor and Mohammad Ahmed—as well as junior Maverick Darling.
Wisconsin typically ran in a tight pack, but Ahmed, the Big Ten’s overall champion, broke away from his teammates early and finished the 10-kilometer race fifth overall with a time of 29:06—good for All-American honors for the third straight year.
Krause and Collins also broke the 30-minute mark, finishing 17th and 23rd overall respectively, with times of 29:41 and 29:52.
Wisconsin finished with just 97 overall points, putting them miles ahead of second place Oklahoma State (139) and third place Colorado (144).
—Matt Masterson
4. 12,402 fans ‘Fill the Bowl’ for women’s hockey—January 28, 2012
The Wisconsin women’s hockey team set the NCAA women’s hockey single-game attendance record for the third year in a row at the 2012 “Fill the Bowl” game when 12,402 fans saw the Badgers defeat Bemidji State 1-0.
It would take almost the full 60 minutes to determine the winner in the game as the Badgers could not find a way to put the puck past the Bemidji State goaltender.
Wisconsin found the break they needed just past the 12-minute mark of the third period when junior forward and team captain Hilary Knight received a pass from behind the Beaver net and buried it  for the game’s only goal.
The over 12,000 people that filled the Kohl Center that night speak to the quick rise that the Wisconsin women’s hockey program has experienced. The program played its inaugural season in 1999-’00 and since then it has claimed four national championships, four WCHA playoff championships, four WCHA regular season championships and four Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners.
Let's hope we can beat these moments next year.  GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Badgers don't play Michigan State in 2015 & 2016


Just when the rivalry between the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State football teams was getting really good comes the news that it's about to go on a hiatus.
The Big Ten Conference announced on Monday the conference schedules for 2015 and 2016.
The highlight for the Badgers is the return of Michigan following a four-year break. But the downside is the absence of the Spartans from 2013 to 2016.
The Badgers and Spartans have played three highly entertaining games the last two years and met in the inaugural Big Ten championship game last season.
Michigan State handed UW its only regular-season loss in 2010, winning 34-24 in East Lansing, Mich. The Spartans won the 2011 regular-season meeting, also at home, 37-31, on a Hail Mary pass on the game's final play.
The Badgers prevailed 42-39 in the wild title game, securing the win with the help of a roughing-the-kicker penalty on a punt late in the game.
The two teams are expected to be the favorites in their respective divisions during the upcoming season and will face each other at Camp Randall Stadium on Oct. 27. But the next four years, the only way they would play each other is in the conference title game.
Iowa, a traditional rival, leaves the UW schedule again in 2015-16, after returning in 2013 and 2014. That means the Badgers and Hawkeyes will not play each other in the regular season in four of the first six years of divisional play in the Big Ten.
Let's hope when they do meet Bucky comes out on top.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Montee Ball named Badger athlete of the year


No. 1: Montee Ball, junior running back, football
It’s easy to forget that Montee Ball wasn’t the Badgers’ featured back at the beginning of the 2011 season. Heck, more fans probably saw him as a true No. 2 than a true No. 1. To be fair, the lightning-quick James White—reigning Big Ten freshman of the year—was a pretty good bet in August.
But nobody had seen what Ball did in the offseason. Nobody had seen the transformation, the weight lost and the muscle built and the mindset hardened. By the time the Rose Bowl ended late Jan. 2, though, 14 opponents—the whole nation, really—had gotten a pretty good look.
The Wentzville, Mo. native scored touchdowns like his offensive linemen eat dinner: two, three and four helpings at a time.
He scored multiple touchdowns in every game but the Rose Bowl. He finished with 33 on the ground and 39 in total. Since scoring the game-winning touchdown against Iowa Oct. 23, 2010 (19 games), Ball has amassed 2,700 rushing yards and 54 total touchdowns. Yes, that’s 142.1 yards and 2.8 trips to the end zone per contest.
He went from being a third-string option to a Heisman finalist. He went from being a talented guy in a talented backfield to the best in the nation. He went from unknown to  having a legitimate NFL future.
But that will have to wait. He’s coming back for his senior year.  Lets hope next year he can win the heisman trophy.  GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Badgers looking forward to this season


Back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances go a long way in building a nationally recognized football brand. But in 2012, the wisconsin football program has the chance to take a final, long-awaited step forward.
After spending years adjacent to the circle that surrounds college football’s “elite” programs, Wisconsin has the opportunity next season to finally anchor itself among the upper echelon of not just the Big Ten conference, but all of college football.
And a Heisman frontrunner coupled with a remarkably deep and talented defense may be just enough to finally bring the Badgers much-deserved validation as one of the conference’s perennial contenders. Wisconsin’s pursuit of becoming an elite program (à la Ohio State) has been a reappearing topic for years — including a recent ESPN college football roundtable — but next season it has the opportunity to capitalize on recent success and establish a spot on the national scene.
Analysts are quick to point out potential issues arising from the exodus of UW coaches this offseason, most notably offensive coordinator Paul Chryst. But the talent returning on both sides of the ball puts Wisconsin in great position for a third-consecutive BCS bowl appearance that could place them firmly among the Big Ten’s best and no longer keep them looming a half-step behind.
This chance at claiming a spot among the country’s best programs begins with one of the most dangerous players lining up in the backfield in all of college football — running back Montee Ball. After piling up simply absurd numbers in 2011 — 1,923 yards and 39 total touchdowns — the senior running back will be the unquestioned centerpiece of the Badgers’ offense next season.
Ball is the rare, once-in-a-decade player who can single-handedly carry the offense as a one-man touchdown machine. Although he’ll have a tough time surpassing the stats he managed in 2011, the senior’s speed and vision out of the backfield alone could earn Wisconsin a couple of victories. Beyond that, Ball’s name staying in the Heisman discussion all season will continue to elevate the image of wisconsin football. Even if Danny O’Brien fails to exhibit the skills through the air he showed as a Maryland freshman in 2010, Ball will be ready to take a starring role in the Badgers’ offensive attack.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Badgers sign a legacy


The Panos legacy lives on at the University of Wisconsin.
George Panos, the son of former captain Joe Panos, committed to the Badgers as the first member of the Class of 2014 on Saturday afternoon, announcing his intentions in a Twitter post.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman from Hartland Arrowhead, who has been a varsity starter each of his first two seasons in high school, was offered a scholarship prior to the start of Saturday's spring intrasquad game and promptly accepted.
He posted his intentions on Twitter, a development reported by BadgerNation.com, a Scout.com site.
"I'm gonna be a Badger #livingthedream #OnWisconsin," George Panos tweeted.
Panos received an offer from Nebraska on Friday, but decided to follow in the footsteps of his father.
Joe Panos, a Brookfield East graduate, attended UW-Whitewater as a freshman but transferred to Wisconsin and became a starter at left tackle for the Badgers, and was influential in their run to the 1994 Rose Bowl title.
His statement, "Why not Wisconsin?" following a strong start to the 1993 campaign became a rallying cry for the Badgers, who snapped a 31-year drought as Big Ten champs and brought home UW's first-ever win in Pasadena.
Joe Panos, a third-round draft choice of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1994 who played six seasons in the NFL, is a player agent — he represents two former Badgers in this year's class, Kevin Zeitler (who went to Cincinnati in the first round) and Josh Oglesby — and also coaches the offensive line at Hartland Arrowhead.
Let's hope he turns out to be better than his dad.  GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!