Monday, February 25, 2008

Cal Poly who?

So the Badgers' 2008 football schedule is complete, as Cal Poly replaces Virginia Tech. Sigh. The first thing that came to mind was that Cal Poly sounds like a punchline - you know, "Wow, great win for Marquette last night, they beat Cal Poly School for Blind Albinos by six at the Bradley Center in their holiday classic." But Cal Poly is a good I-AA team, probably better than The Citadel last year, and we have to make sure they don't become an Appalachian State punchline for us.

Bielema's rationale is sound. Opening Big Ten play with Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State will be brutal. If we end up winning the conference next year because of this move, terrific. I've got my doubts about that likelihood, although that's how most of our special seasons have started before.

But my first reaction was this: I would rather lose a good game to Virginia Tech than beat Cal Poly. Of course I'd rather beat Virginia Tech, but the point is that Badger fans are hungry for a big game outside of the conference and outside our bowl game. Think about some of the recent high-profile non-conference games: Ohio State-Texas, LSU-Virginia Tech, USC-Nebraska. It's not hard to come up with others. Those are games that get your blood pumping, get ABC in town for prime time Saturday night broadcasts, get the GameDay crew in town in September.

To be the best, you have to beat the best, and while the Big Ten has some of the best around - Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State are surely more of a brand name in college football than Virginia Tech - it's a given that we'll play them every year. Bowl games are exciting because you get to test yourself again different conferences and players from different regions. We see it more often in college hoops, but regular season losses don't mean as much there.

We'll see the Hokies in 2016 ... hopefully.

-The Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn is at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and filed a report on the Badgers' draft candidates. In a nutshell: Mehlhaff has looked good and could potentially be the first kicker drafted; Hubbard did everything well but catch the ball (oh, is that all?); Ike is looking at a big mountain to climb; Hayden benched 225 pounds 34 times, about what I do, and was working out today. Anyone caught these guys on the NFL Network yet?

9 comments:

Toohey said...

I've been watching a bit of the combine on NFL network but have yet to see any Badgers. I caught a recap of yesterday's players and saw Hayden's and Hubbard's names scroll across the bottom but I missed what they were ranking.

So, not much to add really. I will say this though. Watching a recap of the combine is far better than watching the events as they happen...or at least the vertical leap is boring as hell.

Frank said...

The mention of McGinn got me thinking, Tappa -- why no blog on the big Super Bowl XXXII story in the JS about a month ago? http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=713518

Figured maybe because you were away, but this story fascinated me. As a journalist I was incredibly impressed at the depth of it. And, from a Packers standpoint, it was a very interesting look at one of the worst losses in state history.

Maybe it's just me, but I thought this was one of the best Wisconsin-related stories I've read in a long time.

Scott Tappa said...

Yeah, that story did break while I was in Germany. I've heard about it second-hand; recently Wolf says he feels bad about how the story came off - not that he was misquoted or anything, but it makes him seem like a bitter old man. True, but for those of us who were hurt by that game, it's good to see the analysis of exactly what went wrong. Personally, I had little clue at the time, was in a haze of Blue Moon and homemade apple cider schnapps.

volleyhart said...

We here in Blacksburg would love to have the Badgers on the schedule, as well. While we've certainly had some big games since 1999, William & Mary, East Carolina and Western Michigan aren't getting us excited about out of conference scheduling. Here's to a Badgers v. Hokies matchup sometime in this Millennium.

Frank said...

Thing is, I thought the Wolf-Holmgren stuff was just the tip of that story. The stuff with Butler saying Shurmur wouldn't make adjustments, Chmura talking about the odd last play -- great stuff.

mjschwal said...

I understand the aversion to having Va Tech in that Sept. slot this year with the way the conference schedule is set up.

While I know scheduling is very complex, it does seem to me that this is exactly what the program needs to "get to the next level." The Badgers will consistently be seen as a second-tier program until they are able to play in some of these marquee match-ups.

I agree Taps, I would rather see them play the Hokies and lose, than see them beat CP by a lot in a relatively meaningless late November game.

Another couple of things I hate about this: Senior Day will now be a day where the crowd will be less than enthusiastic. Minnesota, a huge rival, will not be the last game of the year. Hopefully, there would be a lot riding on that game for the Badgers.

Andy said...

I'm a Cal Poly grad from San Diego and I'll probably be heading out there for the game as my cousin goes to UW. I know I'm super excited to watch my team play someone that matters, although my hopes aren't very high as the talent level speaks for itself. Sorry to hear UW won't get the Hokies though. That would have been a great game to watch.

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