Monday, December 28, 2009


Wow, this bowl game really snuck up on us. If only we were playing in the Alamo Bowl against the team whose coach locks concussed players in closets, we'd have a few more post-Christmas days to mull over our bowl matchup.

But it's here, and we're the marquee game tonight. Should be a good one. Everyone has been asking me what I think, and while I think Miami should be favored, I also think the Badgers are going to win.

Why? A gut feeling as much as anything. As much as we agonize over this year's losses to Ohio State, Iowa and Northwestern, let's not forget about nine good wins.

As much as we fret about Miami's skill players and excellent young quarterback, let's not forget that we have an above-average pass rush (against a line missing its standout left tackle) and a run defense that didn't allow a 100-yard rusher in Big Ten play. It's not inconceivable that O'Brien Schofield, J.J. Watt, or Chris Borland could have a huge day for the front seven. Jacory Harris has thrown the ball to the other team a lot this year, why not again Tuesday night?

As much as we worry about facing a defense that slowed Georgia Tech's rushing attack, let's not forget that we have impeccable offensive balance. It's not inconceivable that John Clay could go for 150 yards, that Scott Tolzien could go for 250 yards, that Nick Toon or Garrett Graham could go for 100 yards and a couple touchdowns.

My point is that we have good players, too. Unlike last year, this year's Badgers have chemistry. The leadership is better this year. The coaching has been better. The quarterback play has been competent most of the year, which has kept the weaker parts of our team from being exposed.

I think this game is going to come down to special teams. We need either David Gilreath or Philip Welch to produce an unexpected plus play, and to not suffer any big negative plays (fumble, long return allowed).

So here it is: Wisconsin 26, Miami 23. Let's go Badgers!

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