Had the Wisconsin Badgers not given up so many huge plays in the Big ten championship game, they would be in the college football playoffs. Instead, they were chosen to play in the Orange Bowl against the #10 Miami Hurricanes and the Turnover Chain. It will be important to do what they do best. Hold onto and pound the ball down the teeth of the Hurricane defense. An occasional pass will do too. The Badger D needs to minimize the big play capability of the Miami O, especially since it is a home game for them. If they play the way they played in their first twelve games, it will be one of the finest freshly squeezed moments in Badger football history.
Being a grandfather is a special thing. Being able to watch them grow through sports is priceless. Thanks to Arctic Circle here in Kimberly, Idaho, I am blessed to be able to watch my grandchildren and children of friends participate in sports at an early age. Last Saturday I attended the 9-11 year old girls basketball games. The first at the request of a good friend whose daughter Mercedes was playing for the Mystic against the Liberty. The Mystic pulled out a last minute win. The next game was my grandaughter Graci’s team, the Stars playing against the Liberty. It was no contest for the undefeated Stars. But, the scores don’t matter in this league-much. It’s all about having fun with the girls they go to school with and with a mildly competitive flavor. Priceless are the faces of the young players when they make a basket or free throw. Watching ten young ladies chase a loose ball like a school of piranhas brings a chuckle to my soul. Growing up, we didn’t have this great opportunity, especially for girls. If anything was available in the way of sports, it was for the “good “ol (young) boys” group. Back then boys played sports and girls were cheerleaders or pompon girls. Thankfully, those days are gone. I want to express my gratitude to Arctic Circle in this area for sponsoring athletics for our youth and to organizations everywhere that do the same.
Losing Aaron Rodgers put the Green Bay Packers in the position of not making the playoffs for the first time in… a long time. Brett Hundley turned the team into the Cardiac Pack. Engineering a couple of come back wins in overtime and almost taking down the mighty Steelers. But he isn’t the answer at quarterback-maybe ever should Mr. Rodgers retire. Welcome back St. Aaron. The Pack needs several Hail Marys in order to make the playoffs now. They need to win all three games with a rusty Aaron Rodgers and hope a lot of teams in front of them to lose. Impossible? No. But miracles happen and if it’s meant to be it will happen. It will take lots of hope, faith, prayers and a miracle or three. Start praying to St. Aaron.
After years of college basketball success in the Big Ten and the NCAA tournament, the Wisconsin Badgers are experiencing growing pains. Gone are four of the five starters from a team that could have won it all. They have finished in the top four of the Big Ten for something like 14 years straight-formerly unheard of in the league. This year, Ethan Happ leads a bevy of freshmen into the war zone. Their play has been mostly consistent by being competitive against four ranked teams in the early going. Then Ohio State and in state rival Marquette blew them out. But they won on the road against a good Penn State team. One and one in the Big Ten so far. Beginning tonight, they have a string of non-conference games. This will be their growing up period before getting into the meat of the conference season. They need to learn how to hang onto the ball more and at least hit the first of two free throws in the one and one situation. Growing up is hard. If they don’t do it now, the string of top four finishes and NCAA appearances will end. If they don’t, the’ll begin another string next year with a battle tested group of sophomores.
Being a lifelong Badger fan, I feel sad for the Badger football team. The experts downplay their season because they “haven’t beaten a good team”. They are pretty much handing the Big Ten Championship to OhioState. Of course they are. OSU always have one of the top recruiting classes with several top 300 high school prospects on their squad. Just like Alabama,Clemson, Auburn, LSU, in football. In basketball it always seems to be Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky with all the McDonalds All-Americans on their squads. What has been so special for the Badgers football and basketball teams is that they have been very competitive in the chase for national championships the past several years without superstars. Why? Because they are coached and developed. Sometimes I think I could coach a team with 5 high school all-americans and win games. Wisconsin coaches don’t get enough love and respect for their development of no name players and walk ons. Some of those walk ons have had good professional careers. Note Jim Leonards defense. In the top 3 in the nation. But, as the experts are quick to point out, they haven’t played a top ranked offense until today.Just a few weeks ago, Iowa totally embarrased Ohio State. The following week, Wisconsin held the Hawkeyes to 55 total yards. Their only points came on two pick sixes by probably the best DB in the nation. Of course, games aren’t won on paper or by past games. They are won on the field. Three years ago, the Badgers were totaly anihilated by the Buckeyes in the championship game after a very good season.OSU went on to win The Title – the first college playoff. Good for them and the Big Ten. It was nice to see a non-SEC team win for a change. All my life I’ve waited for Wisconsin to win a national title in football or basketball. They came close a couple time in March Madness and will be competitive in the future-without McDonalds all americans.They’re coming close in football too. Because of the coaching and developing. Today’s game undoubtably is it’s biggest test of the year. I’m not expecting the same results as last, or the reverse. I’ll be happy with a one point win. On Wisconsin!!
After Aaron Rogers went down with a shoulder injury, the Green Bay Packers turned to his protege, Brett Hundley. Anyone could’ve played as well as he did for 4 games. That ended, hopefully,Sunday night against the Steeler. Yes they lost and yes it lessened their playoff hopes, but Hundley showed some glimpses of Aaron and the “other Brett”. with games coming up against weaker teams and Aaron due back in December, Packer fans haven’t given up hope. They don’t give up until the fat lady sings and right now she’s mute.