So it all comes down to Saturday. After a season of ups and downs, it all comes down to the last game of the regular season against Penn State. Although I would agree in saying that I would have rather had the Badgers lock up the Leaders division by a win over OSU, you can not argue how great the theatre of the B1G has been. I hate to say, ‘I told you so’, but after the loss to Ohio State I said specifically at the end of my article that the Badgers still had a chance to win the B1G, and they will have a chance to play for the B1G title with a win over PSU this weekend. This is going to be a tough article to write on two fronts. One will be that seemingly all the news about Penn State has been focused on the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and I honestly do not believe that this is the time, nor the place to make a comment or cheap joke about that. The other is that there has not really been that much to talk about on the Badgers side. I could write about how great Russell Wilson has been at home or that there is a chance that only Barry Sanders will have more touchdowns in a season than Montee Ball, but I would rather save that for the seemingly six months between the Badgers last game and whichever bowl they end up in.
This article writing difficulty is also aided by poor timing. Who would have thought that the Badgers would play their biggest game of the season the week of Thanksgiving. Not only have I had dinners to go to all week but AMC definitely has not been helping either. They ran The Godfather I & II yesterday and Apocalypse Now today. I was going to start this article Thursday night, but got sucked in to The Godfather when I knew I was only about 45 minutes away from the scene where Michael shoots Sollozzo and McCluskey (Spoiler Alert… then again it should not be a spoiler, it is a 35 year old movie that is widely considered one of the greatest of all time, if you did not know that happened, that is on you, not me). And Friday I got sucked into Apocalypse Now, I have not spent enough time thinking about how inconsistent the Badgers cornerbacks have been all season and been more concerned with how I can work a poorly construed reference like, ‘Charlie don’t surf’ into the end of the post.
To the actual game. The 9-2 (5-2) Badgers and the 9-2 (6-1) Nittany Lions have been the tale of two teams this season. The juxtaposition being the Badgers offense has been outstanding at home, their defense being the reason they have lost two games, and the Lions’ offense has been just average enough to sneak out games their defense has been good enough to keep them in. The two teams are like Elisabeth Shue and Lea Thompson in Back to the Future Part II. Penn State is Lea Thompson, they get the job done, it just is not that pretty. The Nittany Lions have the 8th ranked defense and the 89th ranked offense in college football this year and Lea Thompson is what we would liberally call a ‘Midwest – 6’. Yet, she was in every other movie in the 80’s including being the top billed woman in all the Back to the Future films. Penn State is 6-1 in the B1G while all the numbers say they should have several other losses, even their gambling numbers are ugly as well going 3-7-1 ATS and the over is 1-9 in their games.
The Badgers on the other hand have had a virtually unstoppable run game ranking 10th in the country and a fairly staunch defense ranking 6th in overall yards. Elisabeth Shue is absolutely gorgeous, and even though she had The Karate Kid and Back to the Future Parts II and III she never really had the blowup someone of her stature truly deserved. Bucky is favored by 14.5 at Camp Randall and I really like them to cover at home on Saturday. Elisabeth Shue always seems to shine on the big stage while Lea Thompson is wildly average in 1985, 1955, 2015, and 1885 respectively.
I have recently fallen into the same trap as many Wisconsin fans already talking about who Big Red will end up playing in the Rose Bowl. The things I keep hearing from Badgers fans is they will play Oregon when they beat Penn State and beat Michigan State to take the B1G title. We are using the wrong word there, it should not be ‘when’ it should be ‘if’. They will play Oregon IF they beat Penn State and IF they beat Michigan State. But that is something that can only be learned by talking to Colonel Kurtz. But man, you don’t talk to the Colonel. You listen to him. The man’s enlarged my mind. He’s a poet warrior in the classic sense. I mean sometimes he’ll… uh… well, you’ll say ‘hello’ to him, right? And he’ll just walk right by you. He won’t even notice you. And suddenly he’ll grab you, and he’ll throw you in a corner, and he’ll say, ‘do you know that ‘if’ is the middle word in life?’ He’s like a God, man.