Russell Wilson can vault to top of Heisman lists tonight
Russell Wilson is not unknown to Heisman voters. Three (I, II, III) of the major “Heisman Watch” lists have him in, or around, the top five.
That’s probably a good spot for the Wisconsin quarterback, who has been great early on, but against suspect competition.
Through four games, Wilson — who spent his first three seasons at NC State before taking advantage of the NCAA’s graduate-level transfer rule — has completed 75.8% of his passes for 1,136 yards and 11 touchdowns, while throwing just one interception. He’s leading a Wisconsin offense that’s sixth in the nation scoring 48.5 points per game, and he’s done this while the Badgers have taken their foot off the gas pedal late in games thanks to huge leads.
Tonight, Wilson and Wisconsin play Nebraska in their Big Ten opener, and with a great performance, Wilson could find himself near, if not at the top of those lists. Nebraska is a big-time, storied program that has long been known for its defensive prowess. Even if the Huskers finish the season around where they are in scoring defense (46th at 22 points per game), putting up big numbers against them is going to cause voters’ eyes to light up.
It’s also the weekend’s showcase game, as it will be on ABC at 8 p.m. (EST). If Alabama does to Florida what I’m expecting it to, most of the country’s eyes will be on this game and this game alone. That’s the perfect storm for Wilson’s Heisman campaign. Of course it could also work against him. If Wilson has a bad game in a loss, it will be remembered by voters into December. If his running back Montee Ball goes nuts — which he is certainly capable of — voters might question the importance Wilson to the Badgers.
That’s not going to happen, though. Expect Wilson to be let loose, both through the air and with his feet, and expect to wake up Sunday hearing his name mentioned with “Heisman frontrunner” attached to it.
Buckeyes avenge loss, blow out Badgers 93-65
This game was closer than the final score would indicate, but it was never very close…if that makes sense. The Buckeyes built a lead behind some unbelievable three-point shooting — 14-of-15…yes, you read that right — and every time the Badgers were able to cut the lead to 11 or 12 points, Jon Diebler (7-of-8 from 3PT), William Buford (3-for-3) or David Lighty (2-for-2) would hit a three and push the lead back to 14 or 15 points. The Buckeyes’ three-point shooting was so amazing that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they made a deal with the devil before tip-off.
Diebler, who hit 10-of-12 three-pointers against Penn State on Tuesday, has now hit 17 of his last 20 threes (85%) over the last two games. That’s just incredible.
The Buckeyes won the Big Ten regular season title when Purdue lost to Iowa on Saturday and will be the #1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, which starts on Thursday. Wisconsin enters the tourney as the #3 seed.
OSU’s Sullinger spit on by UW fan?
Freshman sensation Jared Sullinger says (via Twitter, of course) that he was spit on, in the face, by Wisconsin fans before and after the game.
To be spit on is just nasty. On top of that in my Face. Before and after the game. Smh. I just kept walking. More fuel to the fire.
For those of us unfamiliar with texting/tweeting acronyms, “SMH” stands for “shake my head.”
As a former Wisconsinite, I’m a little surprised by this news, but Sullinger has no reason to lie about being spit on. Whoever did this should be ashamed of themselves. Cheer all you want. Root for your team all you want. Boo all you want. Heckle all you want. But don’t spit on anyone.
The Badgers visit Columbus on March 6.
#14 Wisconsin knocks off #1 Ohio State
Things were looking awfully grim for the Badgers when they were trailing by 15 points with 13:16 to play in the second half. But over the next three-and-a-half minutes, Wisconsin went on a 15-0 run to tie the game at 47-47 with 9:49 to play. The run featured three three-pointers, two by Jordan Taylor and one by Josh Gasser (which was assisted by Taylor).
Mike Bruesewitz (a.k.a. “Carrot Top,” per Dick Vitale) was big off the bench, scoring 10 points (two threes, a putback and two free throws) over the final 11 minutes of the game. His biggest shot came with 0:31 remaining and the Badgers nursing a two-point lead. He caught the ball at the top of the key, shot faked, then drained the open three to give Wisconsin a five-point lead.
Wisconsin’s shooting down the stretch was incredible. They went 7-for-11 from three-point range and 8-of-11 from the free throw line in the final 12 minutes.
Taylor posted 27 points and seven assists, and went 5-of-8 from long range. Jon Leuer and Bruesewitz each added 12 points for Wisconsin. William Buford led the Buckeyes with 21 points, while Jared Sullinger added 19 points and 12 rebounds.
OSU head coach Thad Motta is now 0-6 at the Kohl Center in his career. With the win, the Badgers stay undefeated at home. Coincidentally, it was also Wisconsin that knocked off the top-ranked Ohio State football team late last year.
Do I smell a rivalry brewing? Wisconsin is certainly in a better position than Michigan in both basketball and football to battle Ohio State for supremacy in the Big Ten/Eleven/Twelve.
Rose Bowl Preview: TCU vs. Wisconsin
2011 BCS Bowl Previews: BCS National Championship | Fiesta Bowl | Rose Bowl | Orange Bowl | Sugar Bowl
Date: Saturday, January 1 2011
Time: 4:30PM ET
Why Watch: This will be the Badgers first trip to Pasadena in 11 seasons, while the Horned Frogs will become the first team from a non-AQ league in the BCS era to play in the Rose Bowl. Both teams scored 520 points this year, which was tied for the fourth most in the nation. This will be a classic strength vs. strength matchup, as TCU allowed an average of just 11.4 points, 126.3 passing yards and 215.4 total yards per game this year, which were all tops in the FBS. They also held opponents to 89.2 rushing yards per game, which was the third-fewest in the country. The Badgers, meanwhile, were tied for fourth with 43.3 points per game (the same as TCU) and employ a three-headed monster in running backs James White (1,061 yards), John Clay (952) and Montee Ball (881). Can TCU’s speedy defense matchup with Wisconsin’s big bodies on the offensive line?
Game Facts: Wisconsin has won its last three Rose Bowl appearances, while this will be TCU’s first-ever trip to Pasadena. The Badgers are 11-10 all-time in bowls and they’ll be making their ninth-straight bowl appearance. They beat Miami 20-14 in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando last season. The Frogs are 11-14-1 all-time in bowls, but are 7-4 in bowl games under current head coach Gary Patterson. After winning their previous four bowl games, TCU was largely dominated by Boise State at last year’s Fiesta Bowl, even though the final score was, 17-10.
Key Player: Wayne Daniels, TCU.
Want to know if TCU can play with the big boys? We’ll learn a lot by watching Daniels try and get around 6-foot-7 beast of a man and Outland Trophy winner Gabe Carimi. Daniels was an All-American himself, and led TCU with 6.5 sacks this season. If Carimi is able to do to him what he’s been able to do to everyone else he’s gone up against this season (which is destroy them), then TCU might be in for a long day because that likely means Wisconsin won’t have trouble moving the ball. Daniels doesn’t necessarily have to win this battle, but he has to at least hold his own if TCU is going to win.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in: College Football
Tags: 2011 BCS Preview, 2011 Rose Bowl Preview, Andy Dalton, College football bowl predictions, Gabe Carimi, James White, John Clay, Montee Ball, TCU Horned Frogs, TCU vs Wisconsin, TCU Wisconsin prediction, Wayne Daniels, Wisconsin Badgers