Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Looks like I'm already down and the season hasn't even started.

Torvik got me to pick a QB favorite earlier this summer and I went with Phillips over Stave. While Stave has not been officially named the starter, the word on the street is he will win the job.

I am coming around on the new coach. I still have reservations about changing offensive and defensive systems that have worked amazingly over 2 decades, 2 coaches and 6 Rose Bowls. The choice of Stave over the much more athletic McEvoy, and the slightly more mobile and more experienced (or at least older) Phillips leads me to believe they are willing to craft the scheme to the talent. Stave will not be running the read option any time soon.

One of my reservations about the new coach had more to do with fan expectations more than Gary Anderson. After 2 wildly successful coaches and an impossible to imagine 6 Rose Bowls I thought the fan base had lost touch with reality when it came to reasonable expectations for this program. This is mostly based on what I hear and read, but it seemed pretty representative of the fan base as a whole.

What I heard at the end of the Bielema era were ridiculous things like UW should be a contender for a national championship. Not a Big Ten Championship, a National Championship. UW has had some great teams and has had some seasons where they were close to such lofty goals. UW certainly would have had a chance to play for a National Championship in a couple of recent seasons if an 8 team playoff existed, but that's a topic for another day. UW is not that type of program, and probably never will be.

I think I may have misread some of the fan base expectations because people hated Bielema so much. Much of my fear about expectations is because despite all of Bielema's success there were constantly fans who hated him and wanted him fired. They hated him because he didn't win a Rose Bowl, or have a good Bowl record in general, but mostly they hated him because he was a dick. I didn't care that Bielema was a dick. All I cared about was that the Badgers went to 3 Rose bowls and had a ton of wins while he was the coach. Gary Anderson on the other hand seems to have endeared himself to the fan base in a very short time, and by all accounts is pleasant to listen to in interviews and is an all around good human being.

If the fans like him, will they be more forgiving than they were with Bielema? Maybe. If he doesn't win enough to get to bowl games routinely then it won't matter how much he is liked or how saintly he is in life. Earlier this year if I was told he will win regularly but won't get to a BCS/Rose Bowl then I would have said he won't finish his contract. Now that I have seen how likable he is I'm not so sure. Fans are human beings after all, and how much a person is liked does matter to them in their perception of him as a coach.

I will start making my picks against the spread like last year, but not for a few weeks. You shouldn't bet on something you know nothing about, and no one knows much about football teams they have never seen play. Even though the only thing I'm risking is my pride. I'll resume picks in a few weeks once this team has shown more of itself.

It's too bad teams can't make overseas trips every year.

I know it's almost football season so I'll do a post on that soon, but I couldn't resist my basketball Badgers.

It was quite fun to get some summer basketball from the Badgers this past week. All I was able to watch was the 2nd half of the Ryerson game, but even that was a welcome break from baseball. I didn't see or read anything to question my assumptions from the end of last season:

The Badgers are going to start and play a lot of 3 guard and probably some 4 guard lineups. Kaminsky will have to play a lot. Dekker will almost never come out of the game and will be a dominating force in the Big Ten. They are going to be a lot of fun to watch.

The schedule came out today and it should be a fun year. There are not as many early cupcakes as usual. Perhaps because of the Canada trip UW will be ready for big tests early and they will get some wins. They start with Big East foe St. Johns on a neutral court, probable preseason top 10 Florida at home, and at Green Bay (where Bo Ryan has suffered a preseason loss before).

I think this team will be a championship contender in what should be a good but not great Big Ten Conference. They have a lucky schedule in that they don't play at MSU or at OSU and only play each team once. The other 2 teams they get once are Nebraska and PSU on the road. I think they ride a 4-0 record in those games plus a 10-4 record in the remaining games to a share of the Big Ten title at 14-4.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sam Dekker is going to be great

The Badgers went 4-1 on their Canadian tour, and Sam Dekker pretty much dominated every game, except for one game when he got in foul trouble. I got to watch most of the stream of the Ryerson game, which included these two Dekker assists, on back-to-back possessions:

I'm going to enjoy watching Sam play for the next couple of years.

--Bart Torvik

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Badgers QB redux

Alright, Chorlton, time to take a stand:

Who should start at QB for the Badgers?

Last year we clashed on Stave versus O'Brien.

You failed that test. Redemption time?