Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ball selected to the Walter Camp watch list

The preseason honors continue for Wisconsin's Montee Ball as the Walter Camp Player of the Year watch list was announced today.
Ball, a 2011 Walter Camp All-American, highlights a list of 50 players to watch for the Walter Camp Football Foundation's 2012 Player of the Year award.
The list will be narrowed to 10 semi-finalists in November and the winner will be announced live on ESPN on Dec. 6. The winner will be honored on Jan. 12 at the Foundation's annual national awards banquet in New Haven, Conn.
A 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, Ball is the top returning rusher in the nation with 3,310 career rushing yards. He needs 17 total touchdowns and 18 rushing touchdowns to tie the NCAA career records in each category.
He was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award last season and was a consensus first-team All-American. A unanimous, consensus first-team All-Big Ten pick, Ball claimed the Graham-George Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Award and was also named the inaugural winner of the Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year Award.
Ball tied Barry Sanders' NCAA record with 39 touchdowns last season and led the nation in rushing with 1,923 yards -- averaging 6.26 yards per carry. Adding in his 306 receiving yards, Ball's 2,229 yards from scrimmage also led the nation.
In five games against ranked teams last season, Ball averaged 164.0 all-purpose yards and scored 15 touchdowns.
The senior has also been named to the Maxwell Award and Doak Walker Award watch lists.
Wisconsin placed eight different athletes on 15 preseason watch lists, the third-most in the Big Ten. Michigan State led the league with 10, while Ohio State was second with nine.
Let's hope Ball can win the award. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Top Badger football game this year

Football: Wisconsin visits Penn State
The Wisconsin football team closes out its 2012 season with a trip to central Pennsylvania November 24 to take on Penn State, which will be led by new head coach Bill O’Brien.
With Ohio State ineligible for postseason play in 2012, the Nittany Lions look to be the Badgers’ biggest competition in the Big Ten’s Leaders division. If Wisconsin is able to hold off Penn State on the road, they will likely be making their second-straight appearance in Indianapolis and the Big Ten Championship game.
Wisconsin’s defense will hope to repeat their performance against Penn State from last season, when the Badgers held PSU to just 233 total yards and seven points in a 45-7 throttling at Camp Randall.
This game will also be the first time since 1966 that UW has made the trip to Happy Valley and not faced off against Joe Paterno. The much-maligned program will try to distance itself from its recent controversy and turn over a new page for Penn State football in a statement game.  Let's hope that Bucky can have a repeat performance.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bielema likes the new playoff system

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema sounded excited to be a part of college football history with the advent of a four-team playoff that will replace the BCS model beginning with the 2014 season.

Doing the simple math, though, he expressed the one obvious concern that is shared by all of his fraternity brothers in the coaching profession. There is a concern, you ask?

"Yeah, if I'm No. 5,'' he said, grinning. "Everybody used to talk about the No. 3 and No. 4 teams that didn't get to play for the championship. Now they're going to be talking about No. 5 and No. 6.

"I think it's probably legit to say that every year you're going to have teams that can play the excuse game on why they should be there.

"But to have four teams that will have a shot to win it all now is really cool.''

The Rose Bowl will not only be part of the six-bowl rotation for the two semifinal games, but it will be locked into a 4 p.m. (CST) kickoff on Jan. 1 through 2026 (Jan. 2 if New Year's Day is a Sunday).

The Tournament of Roses also announced Thursday that the Rose Bowl would continue to honor a Big Ten/Pac-12 matchup in those years that it's not playing host to a national semifinal.

That type of stability and/or continuity is priceless, Bielema pointed out.

"Of course, we're all a little biased,'' he conceded. "I've been there as a player and a coach. I know the Rose Bowl is a sacred, hallowed ground for college football, especially for the Big Ten.''

The new system will render polls virtually meaningless in their current form, thereby eliminating what has always been a healthy source of debate and controversy for fans, players and coaches alike.

The preseason polls, in particular, were problematic; especially from Bielema's viewpoint. The Badgers were off the radar in 2006, his first season; yet fought all the way back to a No. 5 final ranking.

"I was a new head coach with a new team and people had questions,'' he recalled. "But we finished 12-1 and I felt like we were a BCS (bowl) level team (that had to settle for something less).

"I've always been in favor of ranking teams later in the year because you have a chance then to truly find out who has good teams -- and it's not based on just good projections.''

College football is expected to adopt the NCAA's basketball model for a selection committee, which would include a collection of current athletic directors and league commissioners.

That would eliminate the importance of two BCS staples: the USA Today Coaches Poll and the Harris Poll. There have been reports, too, that the tweaked system will rank teams by tiers; another notable departure from the past.
Let's hope Bucky can make it in to the playoffs. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Badgers get a 4 star defensive lineman

All it takes is one look at two-sport standout Darius Latham to figure out what is his best sport.
Latham, 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, is a four-star defensive tackle from Indianapolis North Central High School, who gave an oral commitment to the University of Wisconsin on Tuesday.
But he's also a good enough basketball player that he travels around the country on the AAU circuit, playing for the Eric Gordon All-Stars.
In fact, Latham believes his time on the basketball court benefits his football skills. Not only does it keep him in shape, he is considered to have excellent feet for somebody his size.
"It does really help a lot," Latham told the Indianapolis Star in the spring. "I don't know how well I'd be playing (football) if I didn't play basketball."
 "I'm officially a Wisconsin Badger," he posted on his account on Tuesday night.
Scout.com ranks Latham as the No. 22 defensive tackle in the 2013 class. rival.com has him ranked as the No. 14 defensive tackle.
Among the schools recruiting Latham were Notre Dame, Arkansas, Michigan and Ohio State.
Tight ends coach Eddie Faulkner was the primary UW recruiter for Latham, who is the 11th known commitment of the upcoming recruiting class.
Let's hope he can produce.