Better Know a Nemesis: Wisconsin

Barryalvarez_medium
Guess who's back?

There aren't that many Wisconsin bloggers; many of them start blogs, only to succumb to dairy-induced heart attacks or alcoholism weeks later.  The exception, of course, is sports radio personality, Fanhouse contributor, and all-around Blogfrica juggernaut Bruce Ciskie.  When not talking hockey or the impending termination of Brad Childress, Bruce covers Badger sports at The Ciskie Blog.  The reason for his longevity?  He moved to Minnesota!

Bruce, welcome to BHGP.  Say something sophomoric.

You're an Iowa fan. Suck it.

Now, the quarterbacks.  Evridge is clearly not the answer, and Sherer looked capable in the second half last week.  Who starts this week?  Who finishes?  What does Sherer do that Evridge couldn't accomplish, other than having the same last name as the guy who plays Smithers on The Simpsons and occasionally completing a pass?
 
Evridge looks just like he did at Kansas State: Hopeless.
 
There's a reason he lost his job without even being allowed to put up a fight, and it wasn't because Prince was afraid he would win it. Instead, Prince knew a QB competition was a complete waste of time.
 
As far as Sherer goes, standards for QBs at Wisconsin aren't very high. Hold on to the damn ball. Evridge is apparently incapable of completing this simple task. Sherer can't be worse. If he can tell the difference between black/gold and white/red, he should be able to beat that crappy team they're playing this weekend.
 
Who starts? I have no idea. I have no reason to believe either of them is good enough to lead this team to a win without 200 yards rushing and great defense.

P.J. Hill simply refuses to graduate, and John Clay looks to be another prototypical monster Wisconsin tailback.  Now that the Big Ten championship run envisioned this summer is dead, will Bielema save his young halfback's legs and run Hill into the ground, or are we still going to see a two-headed hydra in the Badger backfield?  Will Wisconsin have any luck running the ball against an Iowa defense that hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher so far this year despite facing LeSean McCoy, Javon Ringer, and Tyrell Sutton?
 
Wisconsin will run the ball decently. It will help if they start a quarterback who can keep from fumbling or throwing idiotic interceptions. Of course, that means I'm expecting them to have that type of player on the roster, and I'm not sure they do.
 
The run game is pretty solid. Hill and Clay are both good. Clay runs hard and would remind me of Adrian Peterson if he had a bit more straight-line speed. Very similar, physical style, but Clay doesn't appear to be a real game-breaker. Maybe he'll prove me wrong before he is done. I've always liked Hill, but his propensity for injury is absolutely aggravating.

Over/under on weeks until Travis Beckum succumbs to his frustration, morphs into Travis Bickle, and shoots up Camp Randall: 3.5.  Who ya got?
 
Give me the over. Either he's going to start putting up numbers, or Wisconsin is going to change quarterbacks, giving him a chance to put up numbers.
 
No matter what, he's a millionaire next summer. The scouts aren't dumb enough to blame this season on anything he did wrong.

Hypothetical question: After leading Iowa to another 6-6 campaign, Kirk Ferentz is canned like tuna.  The rampant speculation indicates Bielema is the first name in play for the job, and the faithful at BHGP start tracking flights out of Madison.  When the IT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW post goes up on a Tuesday night in early December, what is the typical Wisconsin fan's immediate reaction?  Anger?  Relief?  Tepid resignation?
 
Well, Bielema does have the lame-ass Iowa logo tattoed on his body. It would be hard to begrudge him for taking the job.
 
That said, Iowa would be dumb to hire him, considering he hasn't proven he can recruit winning players. Remember, these first two years were largely built on the backbone of Alvarez recruits.
 
You want him, and you want to help him buy out of his UW deal (assuming he has a buyout), go right ahead. After overpaying Ferentz for all these years, I'd think your school would want to wisely spend its dollars. But it's not really my problem.

These two offenses are disturbingly similar: Run-first philosophy, gargantuan offensive lines, bruising tailbacks, mediocre-at-best quarterback play.  How good is Wisconsin's defense at stopping its own offense?
 
Wisconsin's defense probably wouldn't be able to stop Auburn's offense. So I wouldn't be terribly worried about Iowa.
 
As bad as the Hawkeyes are on offense, they will stay in the game if they get into a war of field position, especially if Evridge starts. If that happens, he's bound to do something stupid deep in UW territory to cost his team the game.

Barry Alvarez: Great coach or greatest coach?  How is the Badger populous responding to his work as athletic director?
 
Barry is a fairly untouchable figure in Madison, IMHO. I'm not sure he's had to do much so far. Bielema won big his first two years, the basketball team has been highly successful with Bo Ryan, and the men's and women's hockey teams are national powers with highly-regarded coaches. Alvarez is in the position Trent Dilfer was in when the Ravens won the Super Bowl. Just don't screw it up. So far, so good.

What is the one thing about this Wisconsin team that we're overlooking and that could determine the final outcome of this game?
 
They do have some talent on defense, especially on the front seven. I keep waiting for them to play the kind of game they're capable of, but it seems like they have a meltdown every week at some point, and it just sours me on them.
 
Guys like Casillas and Levy (LBs) are better than they've played, and I'm just hoping it comes together before they're 0-5 in the Big Ten and needing to win a couple games just to get to the Motor City Bowl.

A final prediction...
 
I'm not going against the Badgers. It won't be pretty, but Wisconsin wins 19-16.

...one more juvenile statement...
 
What's the best-looking thing to come out of Iowa?
 
I-35.

...and you're off the Budweiser Hot Seat.  Thanks, Bruce!
 
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