Monday, January 29, 2007

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Giants tell Eli they don't trust him, hire him a nanny

After having a very large mouth and declaring how utterly fabulous and important he was during the 2004 draft, baby Manning has failed to deliver. Standing in the shadow of his daddy, Eli and Archie wrote a nice fat check that Eli's behind has been unable to cash.

Deciding he was past the age of changing diapers, Tom Coughlin hired Chris Palmer to take over the job of holding Eli's hand.

"I look forward to feeding, burping and otherwise mothering Eli," said Palmer. "I have experience in such matters, having worked with Tim Couch in the past."

Upon hearing the news Eli only had one thing to say: "I want my daddy."

Palmer said that Eli's days will be much like any other kindergartener. He will have to learn to read, write and play catch. The advanced curriculum will include learning how not to talk about people, not to be envious of what your brother has and learning how to be "the baby" of the family, though Palmer thinks that last thing is something they won't have to spend much time on.

Palmer will also be in charge of Eli's diet, to which he said he plans to add a of lot fiber. "Eli's so inconsistent in everything he does, I think the only recourse is to get him regular. Then we'll build from there."

Finally, Palmer said that much of Eli's day will be devoted to teaching Eli how to play well with others. "Clearly this is a fundamental problem. Many young children have a hard time understanding that they aren't the only person that they need to worry about."

Alando Tucker, Player of the Year?

Though the jury is very clearly still out, views are starting to narrow and Alando Tucker is sitting pretty at the top of the list of prospects for Player of the Year.

At the beginning of the season, Marquette's Dominic James was in discussion for this award. A case could be made for about four different players on Florida, though that very fact will prove to be all of their downfall.

Most disturbing picture EVER!

Tucker's averaging 19 points and 5 rebounds, shooting 48% from the field. His numbers from the charity stripe and beyond the three point arc are less impressive, but for anyone who's watched any of Wisconsin's big games can see the Tucker's impact is much more than the numbers he puts up.

And though you may say to yourself that the numbers are not too impressive, remember, too, that Alando put up more than 20 points against Florida State, Winthrop and Marquette, as well as 32 points against Pitt and 29 at Georgia.

Clearly, we've still got a lot of season left and I think that much of Tucker's chances depend on how Wisconsin fares down the stretch.

We still have to travel to Columbus to play Ohio State at home and after Oden's performance here, I'd have to imagine he knows he's got to put up or shut up.

The media is (barely) talking about this as a National Championship team, which means anything less will mean we're considered a failure team who didn't live up to their hype.

Being the team leader, Alando's status will be make-or-break on how the team handles this final stretch as well as how they perform in the conference tournament.

And if that's not enough to convince you, I ask you, which other candidate has a remade ABBA song extolling their virtues?

Check out "Alando", a Madison radio station's ode to Tucker set to ABBA's "Fernando"

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

MU back in the top 15

Wisconsin held it's #3 spot in the AP poll, while Marquette climbed to #15 on the back of 4 straight Big East wins, including an upset of #6 Pitt.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

#24 Marquette upsets #6 Pitt

In an absolutely phenomenal game that no one saw because it was on CBS during the Bears/Saints game, Marquette beat Pitt 77-74 in OT.

Pitt only led once in regular time. Marquette's lead varied, from as many as 11 points to as few as 2. On numerous occasions, MU tried to give the game away, especially down the stretch.

After racking up a 9-0 run, the Golden Eagles promptly allowed an 11-2 run by Pitt. In the final two minutes, Marquette gave the ball away twice, instead of putting the ballgame out of reach.

Three big things that were key to this win:

  • Dan Fitzgerald actually hit some of the crazy three pointers that he throws up all game long. As you can tell, I'm no Fitz fan. It seems like he's throwing up 3s like they're going out of style and he is rarely even close to hitting them. Today, he couldn't miss.
  • The defense of Ousmane Barro.
  • Marquette's free throw percentage. As they reminded us throughout the game, on the year, MU is shooting about 65% from the charity stripe. Today that percentage was 77%, including 11 straight to end regulation and into overtime
Dominic James led Marquette with 23 points. Wesley Matthews and Fitzgerald each added 14. The win against Pitt is MU's 4th straight win, against Conference opponents, with 3 of those wins coming on the road. It was also MU's 4th win against a top 25 team. Their only loss to a ranked team was to Wisconsin. For Pitt, this was only its second home court loss in 30 games spanning the last two seasons.

Have your King Cake and Eat it too!

Ok, so I'm a bit behind on this, but I'd like to welcome everyone, officially, to Mardi Gras season.

See, despite the boob-flashing, bead wearing pictures you see on TV, Mardi Gras isn't just one weekend of drunken debauchery.

The brief history lesson is that Mardi Gras celebrates the season between the feast of the Epiphany on Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday. The party is meant to be a pre-Easter Lenten extravaganza. As the date of Easter changes from year-to-year, so does the date of Mardi Gras.

Technically speaking, Mardi Gras translates to Fat Tuesday, so Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday. But only real sticklers will ever correct you on that, so use Mardi Gras to refer to the whole season.

Go here to see a list of FAQ about Mardi Gras. And here for all kinds of info, from flambeaux to balls.

This year will be the first time in 7 years that I have not attended Mardi Gras. It's been 2 years since I've left my beloved city of New Orleans.

So this year I'm doing the house up (a bit) in Mardi Gras style, strutting the official colors of purple, green and gold.

But in order to officially be Mardi Gras, you have to have some King Cake (which is pictured above.) The long history of King Cake is here. All you need to know is that it's more bread-like than cake, the traditional flavor is just the cake and cinnamon, though you can get them filled, they're fabulous and it's not Mardi Gras until you've had your first King Cake.

You can order King Cake online from any number of places. This one was my favorite when I lived there.

Ordering is fine and dandy, but I'm broke and I figured, why not make my own. There are any number of recipes out there, but many required a stand mixer, which I don't have, so this is the recipe I went with. Many of the recipes I found by Google search were for filled King Cakes, but I wanted the Traditional.

Anyway, they turned out fabulous and I'd suggest it to anyone . It's a great way to bring Mardi Gras wherever you are.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Funny send-up of Marquette

Check it out here

Make sure you read the comments. MU is on the map, ya'll!

Badgers up to #2, MU ranked again

The Wisconsin Badgers Men's Basketball team moved up to the #2 spot in the AP poll this week, while remaining #3 in the Coaches Poll.

Marquette moved back into the rankings after three straight Big East wins. They're #24.

Three Packers named to All-Rookie Team

Wide receiver Greg Jennings, guard Daryn Colledge and linebacker A.J. Hawk were all named to the only league recognized All-Rookie team this past week.

Team team is chosen by the Pro Football Writers of America in conjunction with Pro Football Weekly.


Brewers news

Since the season is actually on the horizon, with under 3 months to go, I thought it was time for a Brew Crew update.

Today the Crew signed pitcher Chris Capuano to a one-year, $3.25 million dollar deal. Last year, Cappy made $450,000. The new deal is part of arbitration, with the number coming in the middle of what Cappy asked for and what the Brewers put on the table.

Last year's stats look like this:

69 starts, a 29-24 record and 4.01 ERA

He was also named a NL All-Star.

Earlier in the week, the Brewers avoided arbitration with Kevin Mench by signing him to a one-year $3.4 million dollar deal.

Mench was a bit of a disappointment when when came here in the Carlos Lee trade, hitting .230 with one homerun and 18 RBI in 40 games.

The deal is a raise from last year's salary of $2.8 million.

Finally, the Brewers TV play-by-play guy, Daron Sutton left the team in a bit of shadiness. He left without having another job lined up, but is now slated to work for the Diamondbacks. The buzz is that he and on-screen partner Bill Schroeder did not get along.

Brian Anderson of the Golf Channel has been hired to replace Sutton.

Monday, January 15, 2007

UW Player gets Big Ten Player of the Week

Kammron Taylor received his first ever honor as Big Ten Player of the Week today.


Taylor, a 6-foot-2 point guard, averaged 18.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in victories over Ohio State and Northwestern last week.

He needed just eight shots to score a season-high 25 points in a 72-69 victory over fifth-ranked Ohio State on Tuesday. He made five of eight attempts, including three of six from three-point range, and made 12 of 16 free throws. Taylor scored 12 points in a 56-50 victory over Northwestern Saturday, sealing the victory with two free throws with 19.6 seconds left.

Taylor is the Badgers' second-leading scorer with 13.2 points per game. In Big Ten play, he leads the team with an average of 16.7 points per game.

Marquette picks up the speed

After lackluster losses to Syracuse and Providence, things weren't looking so hot for the Golden Eagles. There was little to be seen in those losses that mirrored the team that beat Duke early this season.

But Marquette served notice Saturday that they should not be counted out when they rolled past (then #21) Big East foe West Virginia 81-63.

Dominic James, Jerel McNeal, Wesley Matthews, and David Cubillan all scored in double digits.

The game changing stat is Marquette's 24 fast break points.

Despite starting 0-2 in conference, Marquette showed that they are definitely not out when they beat UConn earlier this week 73-69.

Robbie Earl's (not-so-) triumphant return to the Bradley Center

So yesterday afternoon I took in a rare (for me) Sunday hockey game to see University of Wisconsin alum Robbie Earl, who was in town with the Toronto Marlies playing the Milwaukee Admirals.

The game was beyond crazy, with the puck flying back and forth. For a large poriton of the 2nd period, the Admirals seemed to never actually possess the puck in their own zone.

It seemed as though no one could handle the puck and passes were going awry. Shots were being deflected and neither goalie was able to control rebounds. Both teams had the puck sitting in front of the net, but was unable to ever put it away.

The break for the Admirals came mid 3rd period, when Robbie Earl was called for hooking. Shortly into that power play, the Ads scored the only goal of the game.

Sorry, Robbie, but this wasn't your most shining moment at the Bradley Center.

On the plus side, though, Robbie saw lots of playing time and we saw a lot less of the diving that marked his career as a Badger. I'd think it's not long before Robbie finds himself skating in the NHL.

Though Robbie was the biggest profile departure from last year's team, his teammate Joe Pavelski has already found himself on a roster in the NHL with the San Jose Sharks.

I read this profile on him in the USA Today right before Christmas, but never linked to it. Read it here.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Beckham won't play for Real again

It's being reported that Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello has said that Becks will not play another minute.

"He will practice, but he is not going to play," Capello said Saturday at a news conference.

Beckham's contract with Real Madrid expires in June. The 31-year-old player would "continue to give his full commitment and professionalism to the club," Beckham spokesman Simon Oliveira said.

"David is surprised at the quotes from Fabio Capello, as nobody from the club has informed him of their intentions," Oliveira added. "As far as David is aware, he has a contract for the remainder of the season and he remains dedicated to the club and its supporters."

A nice win and a big upset

Last night the Wisconsin Badger men's hockey team ended the University of Minnesota's 22 game winning streak by winning 2-1 at the Kohl Center.

Minnesota is the overwhelming favorite to win it all this year. They're number 1 overall and, obviously, number 1 in the WCHA.

Coming into last night, many a Badger fan was nervous as to how bad a bloodbath we would endure.

Wisconsin has proved a distinct inability to stop the power play and an inability to put goals away, meaning this could have been a long and painful night.

Instead, Wisconsin excelled on both ends of the power play, with Ross Carlson scoring two power play goals.

In addition to being spectacular and totally unexpected, the win was the University of Wisconsin's 1000th as a program.

From a article:

"Everyone is back and it feels good to look around the locker room and see all the faces," said Skille, one of three UW players who missed the last four games while playing for Team USA in the World Junior Championship. "We didn't even play our best tonight."

That is a sobering possibility for the Gophers and the rest of the WCHA.

UW is just 7-7-1 in the WCHA and 10-11-2 overall. However, the Badgers are 6-2-0 in their last eight games and handed Minnesota (19-2-3, 11-1-3) its first loss since the season opener against Maine on Oct. 6.

To say I'm excited about this win would be an understatement. I have the full game on DVR and will be watching it tonight, since tonight's game doesn't appear to be on. The boyfriend will be going to the game with the boys from work. I'm not jealous at all!

All I can say is "let's go red!"

Friday, January 12, 2007

Packer Sighting

For lunch today I had a sub, with a side of Ahman Green.

So this afternoon I went out to lunch with a co-worker, as is my normal Friday routine. She's not a local and therefore she's not a Packer fan.

Anyway, we're eating at Quizno's and we're finishing up and this guy and his wife walk in. He's a little bit bigger guy and he's wearing this stellar throwback Gayle Sayes jersey and Under Armour and I'm looking at him and I'm like, he looks familiar.

So I'm trying to be all covert and I ask my friend if it's him. But she doesn't know, because she's not a fan. So they check out and they walk past us and I'm trying to check him out, to get some clues as to whether this could be a professional athlete. And he's got on an absolutely ginormous watch on and some other bracelets and such. My friend said that she actually looked at him, and he kind of smiles and he totally knows we know who he is.

So he walks outside and gets into a pimped out Caddy and at this point, we're like "OK, this has to be him."

There were some Coast Guard guys in the store and we're like, "did you just see that guy?" Which of course, they had no idea. So we're sitting there and looking out the window and the Caddy's still there, but we're thinking "what are we supposed to do, go knock on his car window?"

So we finish up and we're still talking about it and we get up to leave and to exit the store you have to cross the driveway in and out of the parking lot. As we step out, they pull out of their parking spot. We stop, so as to not walk right in front of a moving car and they wave us on. At this point, we've decided we have to do something, so my co-worker gives a little wave and he rolls down the driver's side window.

Being the non-Packer Fan that she is, she asks "Are you a football player?" and he said yes, so we asked for his autograph and he said yes, as long as we had a pen and then he said we needed to be quick because he was on the way to catch a plane (we were right next to the airport). All I had in my purse was my grocery list and a purple pen, which we apologized for. He was really nice and we apologized for interrupting them and got our autographs and said thanks and off he went.

So that's my story. In case you can't tell, I'm super excited!

I do have a pic of the autograph, but I'm thinking I don't want to post it because I don't want plaguerizers or the like to have it in their dirty little mandibles. But, trust me, I have it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Apocolypse Now

David Beckham has signed a 5 year deal with the Las Angeles Galaxy for a reported $250 million.





Column here

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

To Watch Tonight

Tonight will complete the Ohio State collapse when the #5 Buckeyes Men's Basketball team travels to Madison and the Kohl Center to play #4 Wisconsin.

This should be a superb matchup. Numbers wise, the two teams couldn't be closer, with the biggest margin come in PPG, where the difference is 3 points.

The biggest concern is how well UW will handle big man Greg Oden. Sure, we've got a couple of big guys, but they're mostly doofy looking white dudes who could very easily be overmatched.

Wisconsin is a team that looks to exploit mismatches, and I'm not sure how many they'll find tonight.

Surely the "name recognition" players couldn't be more different. Oden's a guy people can't miss. At 7 foot, he's not someone any team will be able to look past. He's averaging 14.4 ppg and, not surprisingly, 9.5 rpg.

Alando Tucker's a big less obvious. He's 6-6. Until this year, he wasn't a household, or even a SportsCenter name. But he's averaging over 20 points a game, along with 4.6 boards per game.

What should be key to the matchup is whether it's Alando's advantage in ppg or Oden's advantage in rpg that play the biggest role.

I'm going to argue that this game is most important to the Badgers. We're still the team with something to prove. Everyone knew Ohio State was going to be here, but coming into the season, UW was ranked in the teens.

This game should be the difference maker in terms of conference championships. But, as this article argues, this game has a lot of perception implications for the Big Ten. Everyone's down on the Big Ten, saying it's having an uninspiring and not-so-prolific year. And while that may be true, tonight's matchup pits two likely Final Four teams.

Today's odd fact that may actually affect tonight's game: Since Bo Ryan became head coach, the Badgers are 39-2 at the Kohl Center, losing only to Illinois each of the last two seasons.

Here We Go Badgers, Here We Go!

(I was going to say Go Big Red, but that wouldn't really narrow it down, would it?)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Woe is Marquette

I went to the Marquette game tonight as part of the partial season ticket package I have and wow is this team currently, spectacularly bad!

It's late and there's lots to say, so I'm not going into details til tomorrow.

Let me just whet your appetite with the stats.

Marquette was 24-64 on field goals, for a whopping 38%. We were 6-15 from the line, 40% and 4-21 from 3 point land, 19%!

Syracuse was actually comparably bad, but they were actually able to make their free throws (and get rebounds) which was the difference maker here.

Milwaukee Admirals Action

As part of a spectacular date night I went to the Ads game last night. I'm still not over the disgusting uniform and logo change, but that's another rant for another time.

The hated rival Chicago Wolves were in town and had brought with them a sizable fan base. There was a crowd of 9,000 at the game, which is about triple the number of fans that were there when the team was deep in post-season play last April and May.

So there was a lot of energy and we were expecting a lot of fighting, which surprisingly didn't happen.

The best play of the night occurred in the final minute or so. Chicago was down 3-2 and played much of the last few minutes without their goalie. Sheldon Brookbank was assessed a silly penalty and Milwaukee was playing, effectively, two men down. The defense was packed in and a shot was pushed through the center. Rich Peverley deftly intercepted the pass and pushed it straight back down ice for a short-handed open net goal. The beauty was in the handling of the shot, where Peverley cradled the puck, keeping it from bouncing off his stick and was able to shoot in one smooth motion. Beautiful hockey!

Earlier in the season we had gone to a pre-season Ads game and it could not have been sloppier. The team couldn't pass, couldn't put together plays and their puck handling skills were as smooth as freshman on his first date.

That was not the same team that took the ice last night. The passes were crisp and on point and the Ads finally looked more like the team that we watched go to the Calder Cup last season.

Football and college hockey have definitely taken my attention, so I had no idea that so many names were gone from this team. I understand that this is the life of a minor league team, but I was still aware that I recognized two names on the ice, and one was now playing for the other team.

Anyway, I won't do a big breakdown because I'm sure you don't care that much, but I will say that the Ads are worth the price of admission. I'm thinking they got a new marketing person this year because there are a lot more promotions and specials. It's a cheap night out for the family, there really isn't that much fighting and I really think it's worth it.

600 Posts...

First things first, since it's the oldest, is that I finally got to watch some Badger hockey again this weekend and frankly, I'm not sure what to take away from it.

The Badgers were in Denver taking on WCHA opponent the Pioneers. After this weekend's play, the conference looks like this (with overall points totals):

1 Minnesota         25
2 Denver 20
3 St. Cloud State 19
4 Colorado College 18
5 Wisconsin 13
North Dakota 13
7 Alaska Anchorage 12
Michigan Tech 12
9 Minnesota Duluth 10
Minnesota State 10

So we split the weekend series with DU, losing Friday night 3-2 and winning Saturday night 4-0.
For Friday's game, UW was still missing the 3 players that were playing for the US Under 20 team in Sweden. (They won, so much congrats to Skille, Geoffrion and McBain) The team seemed to sorely miss these guys, as they're return in time for Saturday's game appeared to be a difference maker.

Friday night the Badgers out-shot DU 35-23, but were pathetic in penalty kills. All 3 DU goals came on the power-play, leaving them 3-9 on man advantage situations for the night.

If Friday night was a lesson in penalty killing futility, then Saturday night was a showcase for the talent this team does have. Four different Badgers scored goals and the team killed 7 DU penalties, including a 5 on 3 situation near the end of the second period in which Brian Elliot was simply spectacular.

Ben Street scored within the first minute of the game. Tom Gorowsky and Matt Ford each scored on a Power Play in the second period. Andy Brandt added an empty netter to put the game away in the final period.

This team seems to have a hard time finding a rhythm and it's clear they still haven't found a go-to goal scorer (I read the other day that UW has 16 power play goals and 8 of them have been scored by Jake Dowell) But there are definitely glimmers of hope that break out.

It will be interesting to see which UW team shows up at home against league leading Minnesota this coming weekend. If the boys don't get up for this game, the bloodbath could be long and flowing.

Friday, January 05, 2007

UW paper applauds Marquette fans

This column, from one of UW's student papers, The Daily Cardinal, is actually about a month old. But I found the link to it here and decided to pass it on.

This UW student was incredibly impressed by the Marquette student section at the Marquette/UW game. As he points out, Marquette has a general admission policy for all men's home basketball games, which creates an amazing atmosphere in the Bradley Center.

The BC can be kind of big and impersonal for events that don't fill the seats. The upstairs kind of feels like the boonies and you lack that "close" feeling that even the slightly smaller Kohl Center manages to carry off.

However, I've been to two Marquette games so far this season and I have to tell you that having the students fill one entire end of the court, from floor to ceiling, is a sight to see.

Marquette's not a huge school, and while I'll admit that Men's BBall is the only thing going on there during the cold Wisconsin winter, the point is that, generally, you don't go to the Jesuit schools for their athletic programs, you know?

Anyway, read the column, it'll take you two minutes. Find out why Marquette (and Tom Crean) are some of the classiest folks around.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Saban at Bama?

I've avoided the Bama coaching debacle like the plague because:

A) My friends are from Bama and they'd yell at me
B) It's about as pointless as the Favre debate. We'll know when we know, you know?
C) It's more of a circus than P.T. Barnum ever had

among other reasons, but a lot of the recent talk about Saban and the contract he was offered is about how he'll be the highest paid coach in college football.

A tidbit I'd forgotten, until Todd brought it up here, is that Saban was already the highest paid coach in all of college football - in 2005.

His contract allowed that if he were to win a national championship, his salary would top the highest paid coach's by $1. There was much talk about this "funny" clause shortly after LSU won the championship in 2004.

So the nay-sayers need to find a new bone to chew, this one's all used up...

Finally, some respect

A kindly commenter left this link in an earlier post, but I'm bumping it up to the main event because I think it's worth a read...

from the Daytona Beach News-Journal

January 02, 2007

Badgers puncture SEC myth

ORLANDO -- The Big Ten Conference is slow. The Southeastern Conference has faster athletes.

The SEC is the toughest conference in the country. Wisconsin hasn't played anybody.

Scoring is tough in the SEC because teams have so much speed on defense.

The Wisconsin Badgers had heard all of the above and more, not only this season as they prepped to play SEC runner-up Arkansas in Monday's Capital One Bowl, but last year before whipping Auburn 24-10 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in the New Year's Day bowl game.

Well guess what? They play defense in the Big Ten, too.

I don't know how many times Heisman runner-up Darren McFadden was tracked down from behind and tackled while sprinting toward the end zone this season in the SEC. But Badgers cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu did just that when he closed a gap and took down the Razorbacks tailback at the 9-yard line after a 45-yard rush down the middle of the field.

That tackle on the opening possession of the game proved even bigger when Wisconsin's defense held and Arkansas kicker Jeremy Davis missed a 30-yard field goal attempt. That was a big difference in Wisconsin's 17-14 victory over Arkansas.

"Maybe he's an SEC player playing in the Big Ten," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema quipped about Ikegwuonu's speed. "I know that McFadden is a very fast football player. For Jack Ikegwuonu to track him down, pull him down, and then for us to put ourselves in position to have success and have them miss the field goal -- that one play changed the whole landscape of this game."

It certainly was a huge factor in the outcome of Wisconsin's school-record 12th win of the season. The Badgers' only loss: a 27-13 setback at Michigan.

"They think we're slow," exclaimed senior defensive lineman Joe Monty in an on-field celebration. "We just beat the fastest team in the SEC."


The Badgers had heard many pro-SEC pundits during the Florida-or-Michigan BCS controversy and they heard all they cared to hear about SEC supremacy. Maybe the Big Ten's third straight Capital One Bowl win over the SEC will calm that chatter a bit. Bielema, Wisconsin's first-year head coach, even used a clip from an Arkansas television station that belittled the Badgers' accomplishments to motivate his team.

"I'm just so tired of hearing that stuff," said Wisconsin quarterback John Stocco, who was named the game's most valuable player for his two TD passes and ability to avoid Arkansas' fierce pass rush. "You hear it every year. We go out and beat Auburn last year and everyone says they didn't come out to play."

We didn't need to beat this team to validate to us that we're a great team. We knew we could beat these guys. We're not worried about what people say because they're probably going to keep on saying the same things."

Not only were the Badgers happy to win here, but during the game some of the players had happily taken note of Penn State's 20-10 win over Tennessee at the Outback Bowl in Tampa.

An Ohio State victory over Florida in the BCS National Championship game will make the Big Ten 3-0 vs. the SEC this bowl season.


Wisconsin had to earn its way up through the rankings and still their 11-1 regular-season record was only good enough for the seventh spot in the BCS poll. As for individual honors, only senior offensive lineman Joe Thomas made an overall All-America team. That is, if you don't count Bucky Badger -- the university's mascot who was named to the Capital One All-America Mascot Team.

But after beating an SEC team, the question is will Wisconsin move up a spot or more in the final polls?

"I think we should be moving up in the polls because we won," Thomas said.

Especially after beating the runner-up from the almighty SEC.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Bits on the Capital One Bowl

This is going to be quick....

We were fairly unprepared for the two running backs for about the first 10 minutes of the game, but did an absolutely amazing job of adjusting. Other than the three big runs in the beginning of the game, Arkansas was unable to get their banner running game going.

Biggest play of the game was Ken DeBauche's absolute heads-up handling of the blocked punt. He could have tried to punt it again, which would have left Arkansas with great field position. Instead, he threw a pass (not a bad one at that) and received a measly 5 yard penalty and a re-kick. Forget John Stocco, I think that play right there should have made DeBauche the MVP. The play absolutely had an effect on the tone and momentum of the game.

The biggest thing I took away from this game was the dichotomy of what happened when each team's running game was shut down. Both Wisconsin and Arkansas relied heavily on star running backs to carry them through this season. When Wisconsin frustrated the Arkansas backs and kept them in check, Arkansas' game was over. When Stocco was continuously getting pressure and getting sacked and P.J. Hill couldn't gain more than a yard at a time, Wisconsin was able to take to the air and make some plays and they made all the difference in the game.

Arkansas' two QB's and the Wildcat formation failed to produce any sort of passing game, effectively eliminating Arkansas from the game. McFadden threw for 3TDs out of the Wildcat this season, but never even looked to pass this game. Neither Dick or Mustain could manage anything through the air.

If nothing else, I think Wisconsin proved that they could handle a hyped team, with a Heisman candidate. It took us a bit to get used to the Wildcat and to watching for both backs, but we did get into a groove and neither of the backs were able to go for long gains after that. A great job of coaching and preparing by Bielema and the staff...

That and our field goal kicker absolutely showing-up theirs!

Some thoughts on today's game....

"Congrats to Bret Bielema and Wisconsin for a quality win against Arkansas. Bielema's 12-1 finish in his first year as a head coach is a remarkable feat. Arkansas had a good year; it's always tough when you lost your last three games, but LSU, Florida and Wisconsin will all finish in the top five or six in the final poll. Quarterback John Stocco had a good passing game in the first half, especially with the pressure the Hogs were putting on him. The Razorbacks lost a little steam early in the game when McFadden was tackled on a long run and they missed a field-goal opportunity that would have given them the lead. Both teams did a good job tackling and containing the run game. Arkansas had too many penalties, and both teams had a number of turnovers. Wisconsin did a good job of getting a head start on Arkansas and played smart football.-- Jim Donnan"

ESPN's recap here

SI's recap here

Do it again Sam: Brett Favre, will he or won't he?

A fabulous sense of Deja Vu has settled over the Cute Sports house as the state of Wisconsin's football season has officially ended and we now move into the ever present off-season question of whether or not Favre will retire. is already all over this story, with two separate articles having been published on the subject today.

Gene Wojciechowski says that he thinks Favre's tears in last night's post-game interview mean Favre is walking away.

In another article, Aaron Rodgers and William Henderson both said they think Brett's coming back.

I refuse to get into the will he/won't he debate because it stretched on for entirely to long last year. I'll say this once that I think he'll come back because he needs just one decent season to make a whole lot of records and I do think that Favre is nothing if not conscious of his legacy.

There were clearly signs for both camps last night and so I think it's fairly worthless to try and read anything into any of last night's actions.

That being said, I'm afraid Aaron Rodgers is a creampuff in the Matt Leinart vein, so I guess I'm hoping for a Favre return because I just really don't like our other options. If not, come on Ingle Martin!!!

Oh Rexy, You're so Sexy!

I'm fairly certain I'm one of about 17 people who actually gave up their New Year's to watch last night's Packers/ Bears game, but it was absolutely worth it.

Not only did the Pack outplay the Bears, but they made them look a little silly. We were one big play from the game ending with the exact same final score our first game of the season ended, 26-0, only with us on the winning end.

Say what you will about the Bears not caring about last night's game - they were there to win, same as we were.

And, embarrassingly, Rex Grossman had to be benched in favor of Brian Griese after a first half worse than any other QB had played this season. Of all the Bears, Grossman most needed last night's tune-up and Lovie couldn't bear to leave him in.

One extremely interesting stat stood out during last night's game. Rex Grossman is tied for the most games played this year where his passer rating was over 100. He also holds the record this season for most games played where his passer rating was below 40.

Not exactly the awe-inspiring beacon of strength and consistency you want leading your team. If the Bears don't make the SuperBowl, Rex Grossman is absolutely to blame.