Do the Badgers suck? Well…in the pages of this blog, you know my preseason opinion was clearly no. I still feel there are the second best team in the big ten and when the dust settles they’ll play in the BCS series. The better question is what is going on with this team?
- Schedule: Michigan is a good example of a team that can ascend through a competitive schedule. UConn has been a developing program, they opened the big house with some renovations and then they play their historic rival, all while introducing America to the current Heisman frontrunner. Wisconsin on the other hand, opens with a home game 2000 miles away at like 1:00 in the morning in front of a small TV audience on the Versus channel which I didn’t even know existed. They began the game by punching UNLV in the face and then malaise seemed to settle in, they seemed bored and began this disturbing trend of turning it over inside the five. They return to Camp Randall for a early morning game with San Jose State. Only thing most diehards could tell you about SJSU is that Packer James Jones came from that school. No rivalry, no history, a game of little interest, that saw empty seats at Camp Randall. Result? Badgers punch SJSU in the face early, fumble inside their five trying to score and then go into a haze for the next 30 minutes. Bottom line remains, this team won’t have freakish turnovers all year…but they probably will have the ability to punch other teams in the mouth early and hopefully more often. This team seems to play to the level of their opponent—we’ll see how they fare when a more formidable opponent emerges. Their schedule early did them no favors.
- Turnovers: enough said. All ROTQ readers know you can’t turnover the football anywhere and be successful…turning it over where UW has is completely unacceptable.
- Injuries: we haven’t seen the whole UW roster on the field at the same time. Injuries to key players, namely guys like Chris Borland and Mike Taylor haven’t helped.
Prognosis: I think Peter Konz was right earlier this week when he noted that this type of performance will certainly get their attention and the attention of the coaching staff. These foolish mistakes will be corrected, the waning attention span will be stop and we’ll see the type of team we expect this Saturday. I expect ASU to present some intriguing challenges, namely to the secondary…but again this is a PAC-10 team where the defenses are not particularly rugged. UW has always fared well against strong PAC-10 teams, yet alone one in a rebuilding mode. I expect them to really establish their identity in advance of their home tilt with mighty Austin Peay and the forthcoming road trip to MSU and then the big one…hosting OSU. You’ll read it here. This team will be undefeated going into Iowa.