Wisconsin's Win Against Miami Helps Prove Big Ten Myths Wrong

Kevin TrahanAnalyst IDecember 30, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 10:  Running back John Clay #32 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs with the ball against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on October 10, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Big Ten is weak. The Big Ten is slow. The Big Ten doesn't have the athleticism to match the other conferences.

For these three reasons alone, Miami was going to blow out Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl.

There was no way that the Badgers could handle Miami's speed for a whole 60 minutes. The Hurricane running backs and wide receivers would blow past the Badger defenders. Jacory Harris was virtually unstoppable in ACC and he could easily pass his way through the Wisconsin defense.

In the eyes of the nation, that's what should have happened. In the eyes of the nation, a Big Ten team couldn't go into a bowl game and knock around an athletic team like Miami.

But those are the woulda, shoulda, coulda's.

All that matters is the final score: Wisconsin 20, Miami 14.

Tuesday night in the Champs Sports Bowl, Wisconsin not only matched Miami's team speed, but out hustled the Hurricanes for 57 minutes of the game. The physical Badger defense wore down the Miami offensive line and got to Jacory Harris time and time again, causing a fumble in the games final minutes that pretty much sealed the deal.

And for Oregon, Georgia Tech, and Auburn, watch out. Because the slow teams you're facing in your bowl games were faster than Wisconsin.

But we all knew the Wisconsin defense would be good. Well...everyone in the Midwest knew the Wisconsin defense would be good.

Bu what was so impressive was the Badger offense.

Playing in the ACC, Miami has played against every innovative offense around. In the age of new offensive sets and "spread" formations, it's been years since the Hurricanes have seen an offense like Wisconsin's.

And by now, there are only two major teams in college football that use this, the pro-style offense; Iowa and Wisconsin. And maybe all of the 7-5 teams running innovative offenses could learn something from those two teams' style of play. After all, they're 10-2 and 10-3 respectively.

The two teams incorporate two tight ends into their offense and mainly rely on the run to eat up the clock. But they aren't afraid to throw the ball either, especially to the tight end, as quarterback Scott Tolzien racked up 260 pass yards while tight end Lance Kendricks brought in 128 receiving yards.

Running back John Clay was outstanding, rushing for 121 yards and two touchdowns. He executed the Wisconsin game plan to perfection, giving his team a 39:15-20:45 advantage in time of possession.

"That's Wisconsin football, just wearing a defense down," said Clay. "This third quarter, fourth quarter, I could just see them sucking wind and holding their waists."

But it wasn't Wisconsin that was supposed to be wearing Miami down. With Miami's team speed it was supposed to be the other way around

But the Badgers proved that physical doesn't mean slow and a boring offense doesn't mean a definite loss. They dominated the Hurricanes in every phase of the game and proved that the conference as a whole doesn't deserve a lot of its negative perception.

Wisconsin sent a message to the entire country not to take any Big Ten team for granted. Because if they do, they just might be out hustled and outplayed.

Just ask Miami.