The Badgers Have No Quarterback In 2014

Badgers Football Season Starts with Road GameThe Wisconsin Badgers began the 2014 season with very high hopes. They were dreaming of a Big Ten Championship, and possibly even more. During the off season, the Badgers switched quarterbacks benching two year starter Joel Stave and starting South Carolina transfer Tanner McEvoy. The Badgers were hoping the change would spark the offense a little, which stalled towards the end of last season due to Stave’s poor play. Well that didn’t work. Tanner McEvoy didn’t do any better and was benched last weekend for Stave. Joel Stave proceeded to come into the game and completed three passes to the same guy. Problem is that guy played for the Northwestern Wildcats.

So where do they turn now? You would assume they could continue to go back and forth between McEvoy and Stave and go with whoever sucks less that weekend. If the Badgers wanted to they could try something different with sophomores Bart Houston or Thad Armstrong. Or they could go really off the grid and give former walk-on Conner Senger a shot, which I covered when he played high school football several years ago. Senger is a good athlete who might just be what the Badgers need.

There is a deeper problem here. This team has messed around with the quarterback situation for a long time now. For some reason, they refuse to recruit any quality quarterbacks. I don’t know why, but for some reason they think they can just stick whoever under their and expect them to complete enough passes to make something happen. I don’t know. However, I will tell you this; it is time for the Badgers to go recruit a quality quarterback to lead this offense. In today’s game, you can’t just line up in an I-Formation anymore and hand the ball off fifty times a game. You need creativity. You need a capable quarterback the very least. It’s time for the Badgers offense to come into the 21st century and go get one.

Badgers Run Game Heats Up In 2014

Badgers student ticket saleAfter beginning the 2014 season with anemic stats on the ground, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon came roaring to life against Bowling Green on Saturday. Managing just 38-yards a week prior in the Badgers home opener against Western Illinois, the junior overcame a fumble on his first carry Saturday, putting up four touchdowns and 179 in just the first half. By the end of the day, Gordon would have the best day of his collegiate career, earning five scores and over 250 yards against a Falcons defense that seemed lost from the beginning.

Speaking to reporters following the game, the Kenosha native said that his performance was a response to the skeptics who were doubting his chances at the Heisman after his first two games of the year were marred by low yardage and a loss in the season opener against LSU. Gordon put his name definitively back in the early running on Saturday, however, earning nearly 20 yards per carry. And though his odds of actually being named the first Badger to take home the coveted honor since Ron Dayne in 1999 are low against the likes of Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Notre Dame’s Everett Golson, Saturday’s performance put him back in the ranks of the nation’s top backs.

Beyond Gordon’s impressive 253 yards on the ground, five other Badgers contributed to Wisconsin’s record setting rushing game in their dominating 68-13 win over Bowling Green. Quarterback Tanner McEvoy averaged over 14 yards on 11 carries of his own, including a touchdown. Sophomore and fellow running back Corey Clement added another pair of scores on 11 carries for 111 yards.

Dare Ogunbowale came close to becoming the fourth Badger to put up 100 rushing yards on the day, finishing with 94 yards. Kenzel Doe and George Rushing combined to add another 30, bringing Wisconsin’s total to a whopping 644 yards on the ground, a Big Ten single game record in the modern era.

Prior to 1946, only Minnesota and Ohio State had managed more yards on the ground then Wisconsin did on Saturday. The Gophers had 832 yards against Northwestern in 1905 and 663 playing host to North Dakota in 1927. Ohio State rushed for 718 in 1930 against Mt. Union.

Badgers Capital One Bowl Matchup

Outback Bowl

Yes, the Wisconsin Badgers run of three straight Big Ten Championships is over. However, they will be playing in the most prestigious non-BCS Bowl, the Capital One Bowl, where they will be taking on the SEC East’s second place team this season, the South Carolina Gamecocks. I actually think this could be a good thing for the Badgers that they are playing in this bowl game instead of the Rose Bowl. We know where the Badgers stack up against the Pac-12. This will be a good chance for Wisconsin to see where they stack up against the powerhouses of the SEC, who are both big and fast.

At the same time though, Wisconsin got lucky when they drew South Carolina in this game. Out of all of the potential SEC teams that could play in this game this season, the Badgers have the best chance against South Carolina. I don’t believe Wisconsin could run with the team speed of Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Texas A&M or Alabama, and I also believe the Badgers would have problems defending the wacky offense of Missouri. There is nothing secretive about South Carolina’s offense. Steve Spurrier has always been known as a pass-happy coach, but this team has turned into a physical run, play-action pass team.

If Wisconsin wants to win this game, they are going to have to figure out where South Carolina’s all-world defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is at all times, and do what so many SEC opponents did all season to the Gamecocks- run away from him. Clowney figures to go top five in the NFL draft next year, possibly even number one overall. They are also going to have to get after South Carolina’s senior quarterback Conner Shaw. When Shaw is in there, the South Carolina offense hums along with ease. I say when because he has had to overcome several injuries this season to be on the field in this bowl game.

If South Carolina wants to win, they are going to have to protect Conner Shaw and keep him upright. As I said in the previous paragraph, Shaw has already been injured several times this season, so they need to make sure they protect him well. Jadeveon Clowney is going to have to figure out a way to be effective in this game if the Gamecocks want to win. He has been criticized this season for sitting out games and not playing as hard as he can most of the time do to “injury”. He has been accused of protecting his NFL future with the decisions he has made this season. He needs to have a big game to silence those critics. At the end of the day, I think South Carolina wins this one close, 24-20.

Badgers Likely To Play In Outback Bowl

Badgers Outback Bowl

On Saturday, the Wisconsin Badgers went into TCF Bank Stadium and beat the Minnesota Gophers 20-7, winning Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the 10th straight time. The win essentially puts Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, where they will play the third or fourth place SEC team. But which team will that be?  Who will play the Badgers in the Outback Bowl?

Auburn- As of right now the Auburn Tigers have the BCS National Championship game on their minds. Auburn, currently ranked sixth in the nation, has a showdown coming against Alabama this weekend. Winner will play in the SEC Championship game. If Alabama wins though, that will put Auburn as the third place SEC team after the SEC championship game between Missouri/South Carolina and Alabama. If they end up playing the Badgers, Wisconsin is going to have to figure out a way to stop the option read, something they have struggled with the last few years. Probably because Wisconsin is not one of the faster teams in America, and the option read is all about speed.

Alabama- Flip the Auburn-Alabama game around this weekend. If Auburn wins, that puts Alabama as the third place SEC team. Now, in order for Alabama to end up in the Outback Bowl, The SEC East champion, either South Carolina or Missouri, would have to beat Auburn in the SEC Championship game. If that happens, Alabama-Wisconsin would be a good old fashioned “line-em’-up-and-lets-see-who’s-still-standing-after-60 minutes” type of game.

Missouri- I would have never in a million years thought the Missouri Tigers would win the SEC East this season, especially after James Franklin’s injury. But here they are, in control of their own destiny. All they have to do is beat Johnny Football this weekend and they will play either Auburn or Alabama in the SEC championship game. If they were to lose though, that would set them up as the third place team, and possibly sets up a matchup with Wisconsin. This is highly unlikely though, as Auburn would have to lose to Alabama, and then be left out of the BCS for that to happen. Auburn is headed for a BCS game one way or the other.

South Carolina- The most likely scenario here is that Wisconsin will play South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. The Gamecocks have had a very up and down season, including several injuries to senior quarterback Conner Shaw. South Carolina is also the most beatable of the four teams Wisconsin might play in the Outback Bowl.

What Bowl Will The Wisconsin Badgers Get Invited To In 2013?

Badgers Bowl 2013

Right now the Wisconsin Badgers sit at 8-2, 5-1 in the Big Ten, and are the 22nd ranked team in America in the polls. They have long since secured a spot in a bowl game, and we do know it will be a good one as of this moment. But which one will it be?

Rose Bowl – The Badgers have won the last three Big Ten championships, and as a result have played in the Rose Bowl the last three years. However they are 0-3 when it comes to victories in the recent past. Three years ago they lost a close one to TCU, 21-19. Two years ago was the famous Russell Wilson mental mistake in the game’s final moments, and the Badgers lost to Oregon 45-38. Last year, they lost to Stanford 20-14. As of right now, it is highly unlikely they play in the Rose Bowl.

Ohio State sits in front of them in the Big Ten Leaders division and the Buckeyes haven’t lost yet this season, or during Urban Meyer’s time in Columbus for that matter. Since Ohio State already beat Wisconsin this season that essentially puts the Buckeyes two up in the loss column, so basically Ohio State would have to lose twice for the Badgers to make the Big Ten championship game. There is also the possibility that Ohio State could make the National championship game, therefore possibly make Wisconsin the next team up for the Rose Bowl. However Ohio State dropped another spot in the polls this week, making that scenario even more highly unlikely.

Capital One Bowl – This spot is reserved for the second place Big Ten team, unless the BCS selection committee determines that there are two Big Ten teams worthy of a spot in the BCS, and that will not happen this season unless Michigan State beats Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game. Now that is a possibility, but I do not see that one happening. I see Michigan State playing in this game yet again.

Outback Bowl/Gator Bowl – These games are reserved for the third and fourth place Big Ten teams. This is where I believe the Badgers will play, in one of these two games. I believe who plays in what game will be decided by the outcome of this weekend’s Badgers-Gophers game. The winner plays in the Outback Bowl, the loser plays in the Gator Bowl.

Who Can Defeat Ohio State In 2013?

Ohio State Football

The Ohio State Buckeyes began the season ranked number two in the polls, staring down a chance at the a national championship. Technically they have dropped a couple of spots in the polls, but they haven’t lost either. Now there might be a few team nationally who can beat the Buckeyes, Alabama, Oregon, and Florida State, just to name a few, but can anyone in the Big Ten beat Ohio State.

Let’s start with the Badgers. Before we go any further, let’s point out that the Badgers already had their shot at Ohio State, and they came up short. Since they are in the same division as Ohio State, they would not be able to play them in the Big Ten Championship game nor do I think Wisconsin will be able to overtake them. Northwestern is another team that already had their chance and came up 10 points short. With a 0-3 start to conference play, it is high unlikely the Wildcats make the Big Ten Championship game. Now for some teams who haven’t had a shot yet, or the Buckeyes could play in the Big Ten Championship game.

The toughest game left on the Buckeyes schedule is against Michigan. The Wolverines are coming off of a game against Indiana in which many Big Ten offensive records were broken. Bo Schembechler probably sat up in his grave and had a heart attack watching this game. The Wolverines defense scars the crap out of me, in a bad way. I do not think Michigan has what they need to beat the Buckeyes right now.

Nebraska Working Hard To Be A Threat In Big Ten

Then there are two more possibilities for teams Ohio State could play in the Big Ten Championship game. First up would be the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Nebraska is getting along barely right now, and they have already made a switch at the quarterback position this season. I do not see Nebraska beating Ohio State. In fact, I don’t even see them playing in the Big Ten Championship game.

Rather, I see Michigan State as Ohio State’s opponent in the Big Ten Championship game. This Michigan State defense is the one defense in the Big Ten who could stop Braxton Miller dead in his tracks. With the way Michigan State moves the ball on offense, running the ball and taking up large portions of time on their way to the end zone, I see the Spartans as the only team in the Big Ten who can take down the Buckeyes. The only question I have about Michigan State’s ability to beat Ohio State is America’s question, can the quarterback make enough plays. Right now the Spartans sit just 105th in the nation in passing yards per game. Can Conner Cook make enough plays to make a difference? We will see.

Joel Stave Rises Above The Job Of Handing Off The Ball

Badgers Joel StaveDespite yet another stellar year for the Wisconsin Badgers ground-corps, first-year starting quarterback Joel Stave has proven that he is worth more than just taking snaps and handing-off the football. James White and Melvin Gordon have earned themselves a ranking of 6th best in the country for the pair’s dynamic running-game behind Stave. Wisconsin’s ground-happy offense has been apparent since the Ron Dayne era, leading some to question the team’s ability to threaten through the air. And indeed, the Badgers are one of the most blitzed team’s in the nation, as only wide-receiver Jared Abbrederis is perceived as a threat on the outside.

Still, Stave has coerced more yards out of the lackluster wide-receiving corps than any quarterback in years. The senior has completed 60 passes midway through the season, good enough for over 1000 yards and eight touchdowns. His 63 percent completion rate is equally as impressive, considering opposing defenses can almost guarantee that the ball will go towards Abbrederis, who is the target on more than a-third of Stave’s attempts through the air.

The pair’s chemistry has been effective. Abbrederis and Stave were key components to the Badgers recent fourth-quarter drives against Arizona State and Ohio State, despite both ending in losing efforts. Stave hit four of six attempts against the Sun Devils with just over a minute remaining and the Badgers down two. A now infamous officiating debacle thwarted a game winning field goal that night, though Stave returned the next week in Columbus to pass for a career-high 295 yards on 20 completions.