Badgers win Inaugural Big Ten Championship
Well the holes in the defense and special teams were evident and the Badgers almost blew it again, but this time it was the Badgers that prevailed.
It was basically a Hail Mary that set the Badgers up for the game-winning score as Russell Wilson threw across the field on fourth down and Jeff Duckworth (who?!) for a 43-yard reception. Montee Ball scored on the next play and the Badgers converted the 2-point to put themselves up by 3.
Of course, in true Badger fashion, the ensuing kick-off was a short line-drive and MSU returned it to the 2 yard line, all but giving the Badgers another last-minute loss. Sadly for Michigan State, one of their guys ran into the kicker, negating the run and giving Wisconsin a first down.
Of course, bitter folks are calling the penalty BS and saying it was a flop.
However, Mike Pereira, the former VP of Officiating for the NFL, says the penalty was legit. I'll agree that Nortman's fall to the ground was probably embellished to make sure the refs saw that he'd been hit - but he couldn't flop the direct hit to his leg. The pic above is indisputable, in my opinion. When the game's on the line, there's no excuse, ever, for a player to get that close to the kicker. You just don't take the chance.
And really - I know the Badgers had two punts blocked this year, but why bother? The defense and special teams had completely failed to stop MSU this game. They proved it on the runback. There was no need to even take the chance. Trust your offense.
Someone pointed out on Twitter that Wisconsin/Oregon (Pac 12 champ) in the Rose Bowl is likely to be higher scoring then a normal Badger Bball game. Oregon's offense is higher-scoring and more explosive than anyone the Badgers have faced this year. If they don't get their act together, its going to be an embarrassing blowout.
I've heard a lot more detractors bashing on Bret Bielema this season, but I'm not sure you can argue with back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances and Big Ten Championships. It's a results-driven industry and he's providing the results. Many folks thought the season was over after the MSU and OSU losses, but he kept his team together and won when it was necessary. It was win or go home for the Badgers and they won.
If the Badgers hadn't blown those two games, they be undisputedly the #2 team in the country and they'd be playing for the National Championship. They completely gave away a chance to play for the title on piss poor game play.
AND NO ONE'S TALKING ABOUT IT
The whole story is how great Wisconsin's comeback has been and what a triumph it is that they survived after the losses. How the fact that they let the BCS slip through their fingers isn't a story at all, I'll never understand. But it says something about Bielema and the team that the story on them is positive, not negative.