A Quick First Impression on the Badgers
I was in attendance for the Green Bay Packers final preseason game at Lambeau Field on Thursday night so I didn’t get around to watching the University of Wisconsin/UNLV football game until this morning. Obviously, the Badgers looked good in their 51-17 victory over the Runnin’ Rebels but it’s hard to get a proper guage on them based solely on this game as the opponent was so grossly overmatched. I don’t think we’ll have a good measure of how good this Wisconsin team can be until October 1 when they play Nebraska at Camp Randall Stadium.
New quarterback Russell Wilson was as good as advertised in this contest. His athleticism creates some opportunities to exploit opposing defenses. However, I don’t believe his presence signifies a sea change in philosophy for the Badgers’ program, which will always depend on the running game to win games.
Speaking of which…..
Tailbacks Montee Ball and James White picked up where they left off. Ball, in particular, looked noticeably smaller and quicker. It’s been said that he dropped the weight to gain stamina but it remains to be seen how he’ll hold up against stronger competition. I’ve always been a big Montee Ball fan but I still question the wisdom of his losing weight, especially since he was effective as a bigger back and Bucky already had White as a changeup “speed guy”.
One thing I do know is that anyone predicting a national championship for this team (Harry Sydney) must be on drugs. Their defense isn’t nearly good enough. But, even more significant than that, their non-conference schedule is pathetic. UNLV, Oregon St., Northern Illinois and South Dakota? What the hell is that?! They might be able to get away with that nonsense if they were in the SEC but the Big(12)Ten Conference no longer engenders that kind of automatic respect among the college football cognoscenti. As a practical matter, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which all the teams that are ranked ahead of them will stumble so badly that the Badgers would ever be able to leapfrog them all in order to put themselves in position to be considered for a NCAA title.