Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Badgers Should Be Proud

Win And End On A High Note

Bill Michaels
December 03, 2017 - 11:52 am
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Make no mistake about it, the Wisconsin Badgers have had a hell of a season.  Going 12-0 in the Big Ten is something rarely done.  To say that by not winning the Big Ten Championship the season is a failure, I will vehemently disagree.  This 2017 group of Badgers should be extremely proud and now move on to their bowl game, get a win and go out on a 13-1 note.

In their quest to win the Big Ten title, they fell short.

Why?  3 real reasons:

1.  Their defense, who rarely gave up big plays all season long, gave up 3 in the first half vs. Ohio State. 
As a matter of fact, Ohio State picked up 309 yards on 33 plays in the first half.  Did I mention the missed tackles?  There were plenty.  Ugghhh.

2.  The Badgers vaunted run game was stymied by the Buckeyes defensive front.  The Badgers O line was outmanned as the Buckeyes rushed 4 most of the night.  RB Jonathan Taylor, at one point being considered in the discussion for the Heisman Trophy, was held to just 2.7 yards per carry (15 for 41 with his longest run being 7 yards), was a non-factor as the Buckeyes dared Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook to beat them with his arm.

3.  The above-mentioned Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook.  He wasn’t good.  In fact, missing open receivers, bad footwork, taking ill-advised sacks and under and over throwing receivers…..well he was bad.  The weak armed QB threw for less than 50% completion and 2 picks, the second pick being the last Wisconsin offensive play of the game.   Final QB stats: 19 of 40, 229 yards and 2 INTs. 
All season long Badgers fans felt as if their program was being disrespected, and rightfully so.  You see the Badgers don’t have a flashy coach or National Championships behind them to give them the credibility they deserve.  As I’ve said so many times, it’s not right, but it’s the way it is.  If you want to be in the discussion of the elite, win it all.  Easier said than done I know. 

NOTE:  Some of you have taken exception to my criticism of Badgers QB Alex Hornibrook. 

First of all, I didn’t hear from any of you when I was praising him for his good play, at times, throughout the season.  I find that somewhat hypocritical. 

Secondly, I criticized his play on the field, not personally.  All the things said about him nationally, his footwork, weak arm, bad decision making, all came true in a microcosm of this game on a big stage.   My hope is that he learns from this year and gets better or that Paul Chryst truly opens the quarterback competition and let the best QB win.

Thirdly, and most importantly, have you ever noticed when coaches and fans speak of their teams they call them “MEN” and how the “MAN UP” and, when things are going well, praise them as “MEN”….yet when things don’t get well they want to criticize  US for “picking on KIDS”…”STUDENTS”.  Well which is it?

This is big time college football.  You’re in a power 5 conference and you’re on a national stage, with that comes criticism when it’s warranted.  This isn’t a rec league where participation trophies are awarded.  If you take the praise, you damn well better learn to take the criticism or I guarantee you will ultimately fail at life because life doesn’t give one moment’s damn about you. 

That said, the Badgers have a lot to be proud of, and should be.