Sunday, September 25, 2016

How good is Wisconsin?

Last week Chorlton foolishly bet against the Badgers. I called him out for his lack of faith and predicted that the Badgers would win by 19.*

At this point I guess I should break something to the more earnest among you: all my predictions are jokes.

The truth is I don't have strong opinions about what will happen in college football games. The ancients called this "wisdom." Because no one knows what will happen in college football games. This is why when some charge me of "overconfidence" about the Badgers I am genuinely befuddled. I have no confidence in the Badger football team.** I have no confidence in any football teams. I just watch the dang games and cheer and hope and drink and pass out. I do make predictions but -- and I can't emphasize this enough -- all my predictions are jokes.

But sometimes, very rarely, it happens that life makes my jokes unfunny. Saturday was such an occasion. My joke prediction* of a 19-point Badger win over MSU win became a straight man: the Badgers won by 24, dominating all three phases. Well, at least two. But really three. (Is there a fourth phase? I think it's plasma.)

Are the Badgers 24-points-plus-home-field-advantage better than the Spartans? That seems unlikely. They benefitted from some freak plays -- a crazy fumble returned for an unlikely touchdown; a dropped snap on a punt from the 5-yard-line, etc. -- that made the score what it was. But college football is crazy plays. I mean, come on, you've watched it before, right? Sometimes you get em, sometimes they get you. MSU got got Saturday, and it was great.

But that leaves the question: how good is Wisconsin, really? It shouldn't surprise you to learn that I have no fucking idea. I think they're "pretty good." And they've already won enough games this year to prove that, objectively. This is the great thing about being a Badgers fan: beat a couple top-10 teams, and the season is a success. We don't feel entitled to national-championship contenders, and we don't feel bad when they don't materialize. We just cheer and hope and drink and pass out. Then we wake up in Spring to find the basketball team is in the Sweet 16 again.

Life is good.

*Later, my account was hack'd.

**As someone who came of age in the 80s, this is constitutional.

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