Tag Archives: Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin Will Have New Coach For Rose Bowl

With former Wisconsin Badgers head coach Bret Bielema leaving to take the open job at Arkansas, the Badgers will have a new coach guiding them to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl Game on January 1st. Surprisingly, Wisconsin team captains approached a man who has already won three Rose Bowls: Badgers athletic director Barry Alvarez.

Alvarez retired from coaching in 2005 after winning Rose Bowls in 1994, 1999, and 2000. He won 118 games in 16 years, in the process becoming Wisconsin’s all-time winningest coach. As the Badgers’ head man, Alvarez won numerous coaching awards including AFCA Coach of the Year and Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year in 1993 after leading Wisconsin to a 10-1-1 record, a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl victory. He was also named the Big Ten Coach of the Year that season and won it again in 1998.

The Pennsylvania native played football for Bob Devaney at Nebraska from 1966 to 1968 and then began his coaching career as an assistant at Lincoln Northeast HS in Nebraska. After serving on Lou Holtz’s Notre Dame staff, Alvarez got the head coaching job in Madison inheriting one of the Big Ten’s most dismal programs. After consecutive 5-6 seasons, Alvarez led the Badgers to that Big Ten title in ‘93 and proceeded to guide Wisconsin to six seasons of at least nine wins. In his 16 years in Madison, Alvarez took the Badgers to 11 bowls games, going 8-3.

Alvarez stepped down in 2005 but remained an integral part of the program meaning there will be little distraction for the rest of the staff and the players. He will likely allow the staff to operate “business as usual” and offer input, make game-day decisions, and handle the press. There should be a little problem since Bielema was on Alvarez’s staff and hand-picked as his successor.

Bielema’s teams were much like Alvarez’s – tough, stingy defences and big, huge offensive lines that opened holes for 10 straight years of 1,000-yard rushers. Expect the same with Heisman Trophy candidate Montee Ball, who established the NCAA record for career touchdowns with 82 behind another massive Wisconsin offensive line. Alvarez has told his players that he would be honoured to coach them, but he has also told them that he will not screw around. Alvarez has made it clear to the Badgers that he is in it to win it. With three Rose Bowl wins under his belt, don’t be surprised if Alvarez adds a fourth this year.

Preview of Stanford Vs Wisconsin 2013 Rose Bowl

The Granddaddy of them all features a somewhat surprising Pac-12 champion, the Stanford Cardinal, against a definite surprise in Big Ten champ, Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers, by virtue of both Ohio State’s and Penn State’s bowl bans, represented the Leaders Division in the conference title game where they subsequently handed 12th-ranked Nebraska a 70-31 pounding.

After losing superstar QB Andrew Luck, OG David DeCastro, and TE Coby Fleener to the NFL, Stanford was supposed to be rebuilding while grooming a new QB. After a respectable 6-2 start under Josh Nunes, freshman Kevin Hogan stepped in against Colorado and the Cardinal have not lost since. Coach David Shaw’s squad took care of the UCLA Bruins in the Pac-12 championship game, 27-24. The game was a rematch of the regular season finale in which Stanford had a much easier time with the resurgent Bruins, beating them 35-17.

Besides Hogan, who has thrown for 973 yards and nine touchdowns, the Cardinal look to senior RB Stepfan Taylor who leads Stanford’s powerful running game with 1,442 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. Tight end Zach Ertz, who caught the winning TD pass in the upset win over Oregon, leads the passing game with 66 catches for 837 yards and six scores.

What really drives Stanford, though, is defence. The Cardinal defence yields just 88 yards rushing per game and is 21st in the nation in total defence. Defensive coordinator Derek Mason’s front seven is as talented as any in the country with LB Chase Thomas leading the charge. It’s an old-school smash-mouth type defence that features several blitz and pressure packages and is as good as any in the defence-dominant SEC.

Wisconsin returns to the Rose Bowl game for the third consecutive year seeking its first win. The Badgers lost to TCU, 21-19, in the 2011 game and 45-38 to Oregon this past January. Head coach Bret Bielema had to replace QB Russell Wilson to begin the season and the task was much harder than expected. Maryland transfer Danny O’Brien looked to continue the transfer-wagon but was replaced by Joel Stave after lacklustre performances led to losses to Oregon State (10-7) and Nebraska (30-27). After an injury to Stave, journeyman Curt Phillips has taken over and led the Badgers to their second consecutive league title.

Stave had been efficient throwing for 1104 yards and Phillips, who was 6-for-8 in the championship game, isn’t asked to do much, but the offense revolves around RB Montee Ball, the NCAA career leader in touchdowns (82). Ball rushed for 202 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns to lead the Badgers to the Big Ten championship win over Nebraska. Wisconsin shredded the Huskers’ defense for 640 yards, 539 of them on the ground. Both Ball and RB Melvin Gordon went over 200 yards against Nebraska. Gordon led Wisconsin with 216 yards on just nine carries.

This year’s Rose Bowl should be a march down memory lane as two run-oriented offenses square off against two old-school defenses. The Badgers’ five losses were each by three points, including three of those defeats occurring in overtime. The Cardinal have also played there share of close games losing to top-ranked Notre Dame 20-13 in overtime and dropping a 17-13 defeat to Washington earlier in the season. Remember it was Stanford who held the fast-paced Oregon Ducks to just 14 points and then beat them in overtime 17-14. No question, this year’s Rose Bowl will be a hard-fought, defensive struggle with the team most successful running the football earning the win.

Rose Bowl Tickets are on sale now

Play for Pay – Making Ends Meet in College Football

Pay for Play in College Football

Pay for Play in College Football

Savannah State traveled to Stillman, Oklahoma, last Saturday only to be shellacked by 19th-ranked Oklahoma State, 84-0, in a virtually meaningless college football game. And next week, the Tigers will likely face another drubbing at the hands of another ranked FBS school, Florida State.

In the world of college football, what seems like a meaningless tussle between two schools at opposing ends of the spectrum, is really what the game has become–a business deal. For schools like Savannah State, an FCS school, and those like San Jose State and San Diego State–both FBS schools but not in BCS conferences–the cold reality of college football is that they must schedule games against more talented FBS schools to pay the bills.

These “payday” games have been around for years. A “lesser” opponent will agree to travel to a “greater” opponent in return for an agreed upon amount of cash. The result is usually a drubbing on the football field, but the payday can help fund a football program or, in some cases, an entire athletic department.

Take San Jose State, for example, who in 2010 made $1.825 million by playing Alabama and Wisconsin on back-to-back Saturdays. They “won” at the bank despite getting beat on the field by a combined score of 75-17. San Diego State has played 23 “payday” games since 2000. Their record in those games–0-23. Last year, the Aztecs received a little over a million dollars to play at Michigan. That equates to ticket sales for an entire season at SDSU.

Schools cannot make huge increases in ticket prices nor can they force more people to buy tickets in order to generate higher revenues. A school can only sell so many t-shirts and other apparel items and schools cannot force donors to write big checks. So, with 12-game schedules the norm now, it only makes good business sense to take a few lumps on the field, cash in, and then continue on with the remaining league games.

The Southland Conference, made up of FCS schools, typically plays several “payday” games every season in order to finance its schools’ athletic budgets. Nicholls State, for example, will play Oregon State, South Alabama, and Tulsa this year. The games will be a good test against better competition and help prepare Nicholls for league play and ultimately, a spot in the 24-team FCS playoffs.

Payday games will continue as the major BCS schools look for additional games that can be used as a “tune-up” for the rest of their schedules. What all the schools involved hope to avoid are injuries that can affect play later on in a season. And, for the big BCS schools, they surely will want to avoid a shocker like 2007’s Michigan upset by Appalachian State. Regardless of what happens on the field, though, as long as there are bills to pay, schools will agree to play for pay.