Wisconsin Badgers loss stings but not a season-ender

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A shot at the National Championship Game is off the table, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Wisconsin Badgers season is over.

Yes, they were outplayed in every facet of the game in a 10-7 loss to the Oregon State Beavers.

Bad play on the road is nothing new for the Badgers. Even Russell Wilson couldn’t save them from going 2-2 in true road games last season, including a game where they struggled to beat an Illinois team clearly not on the same level as them.

It might sound counter-intuitive, but there’s still a lot to like about this Badgers team.
First off, the Badgers loss doesn’t change the fact that Ohio State and Penn State have been banned from postseason play. Both Indiana and Illinois are dealing with significant injuries to their best players and Purdue is well, still Purdue. If you think Wisconsin has no shot at making it to the Big Ten Championship you’re being overly pessimistic.

They still have the best backfield in the Big Ten with Montee Ball and James White. It’s probably for the best if Ball’s Heisman campaign dies off soon as the Badgers have always performed better under the radar.

The offensive line play can’t get any worse. Considering they have the size and talent in place, you would have to think it’s a matter of experience and learning to play together. With an emphasis in practice, expect the offensive line to get better as the season goes on.

Defensively, the Badgers are sticking to the same old mantra, bend-but-don’t-break, as they’ve done for the last three or four years. Losing safety Shelton Johnson to a broken arm hurts, but this unit will keep the opponent close, good enough when the offense improves.

We’ve now seen good Danny O’Brien and downright horrible O’Brien. As expected, the team needs O’Brien to be a game manager. He’s not a playmaker like Russell was. With that said, O’Brien will also get better, not many teams get worse and worse as a college football season goes on. Moreover, it could be a lot worse. He didn’t throw four or five interceptions or anything like that.

Lastly, the Badgers play-calling needs to get better if they are to be successful going forward. In the mess against Oregon State, there wasn’t much of an evident game-plan. If offensive coordinator Matt Canada doesn’t want to be run out of town, he needs to get back to Wisconsin football and making sure the run game is established and the number one priority. That was not the case against the Beavers as the Badgers ran 38 passing plays compared to only 23 of the rushing variety.

I think it’s far fetched to think Bret Bielema won’t turn this team around and help them get back on track to a Big Ten Championship. In his impressive career at Wisconsin,he’s done nothing but win and one loss shouldn’t change that notion just yet.

What do you think, is the Badgers making it to the Big Ten Championship realistic? Let me know by commenting below.

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.

Pictures courtesy of Wisconsin Football official Facebook page.

 

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Comments

  1. I think Matt Canada needs to review Badger Football Highlighs from past easons. I truly question his qualificatons and ability to be offesive coordinator for the Badgers. If they don’t improve, he deserves to be run out of town. The game against Oregon State is an embarrassment not only for the Badgers, but for the entire State of Wisconsin.

  2. I’ve watched the Badgers since the early ’50’s. That is the first time I ever felt that the play-calling put a good group of football players up against such odds!! This was not about “not executing”, which we so often hear. Football is like chess. You take advantage of the moves your opponent makes, ie. if they have eight men in the box, you don’t run Ball into it. Did they have a game plan? Do they have a reverse? Ever consider “chipping” the defensive end and flaring out where the receivers have cleared against the “man coverage”? Do they ever audible? Thinking they can win by “playing Badger Football” against anyone on their schedule is ridiculous. The game constantly evolves. Without coaching in “front of the curve”, Wisconsin will be left behind!

  3. Charles Wolfe says

    This O-line isn’t as good as last year. Monty kept getting hit in the hole or in the backfield. Last year the O-lineman led sweeps down field. The secondary is atrocious. They kept getting burned against NIU & OSU. With-out Abby, they are w/o a reliable receiver, & kick returner. You can’t blame O’Brian for lousy play calling. When your playing to catch up, you take chances. UW has been a major let down so far. They blew a chance for a BCS bowl. Maybe a Rose Bowl to. They have their work cut out for them. Even the Pack looked lousy. C/c

  4. I do not understand why Brett Bielema is so protected, except that he is Coach Alvarez’s protege. Nothing is ever his fault. When things are this broadly disjointed and the team isn’t ready to play, that’s the head coach’s responsibility.

    When you have run Monte Ball into a brick wall for three quarters and the line has done NOTHING visible to adjust, what makes you think the fourth quarter is going to be significantly different?

    Brett Bielema is incapable of adjusting when his opening game plan doesn’t work. Blame the coordinators if you want, but that itself speaks to the truth – Coach Bielema is not in control when the Badgers get into trouble. Michigan State, Oregon, Oregon State, Michigan State, Ohio State (at least under Jim Tressel) all seem to have this figured out. When they win, the way you beat Brett Bielema is to stuff his game plan early, and he’s done. He can’t adjust.

    And why, oh why, are the Badgers always struggling somehwere in the defensive backfield? That’s where Bielema played his college ball. If he can’t figure that out and fix it, where do we think the offensive creativity is going to come from?

    And Danny, if you stare at your receivers any longer, you’re going to get retina burn.

    Your team, Coach Bielema, didn’t show any hint of getting it together until the fourth quarter – a little late to figure out that there was actually a football team on the other side of scrimmage that was beating the snot out of your behemoth O line. And I don’t think that even then it was any coaching or coordinator success; the Beaver line was just tiring out from throwing around all that beef all afternoon.

    Badger football as Brett has played it is in real trouble if the battle is lost at the line of scrimmage. Monte can’t run by himself, and Danny O’Brien isn’t Russell or even Sorge. If White and Ball can’t get out of the backfield and O’Brien is going to point at the receiver like a weather vane, you do the math …

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