Bucking The Trend: What The Badgers Must Do For a Rose Bowl Berth

Alec Dopp@alecdoppCorrespondent INovember 2, 2010

MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 16: Wisconsin Badger players and fans celebrate a win over the Ohio State Buckeyes at Camp Randall Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Ohio State 31-18. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As if shellacking the No.1 team in the country, along with trouncing the No.1 defense in the country, isn't enough.

The Wisconsin Badgers have managed to do just that this season, raising hopes of a possible Rose Bowl berth—Bucky's first appearance in the big game since back in the Ron Dayne era.

The Badges have managed to run their way to the near top of the Big Ten, with the help of "Mr. Consistent" QB Scott Tolzein.

Through eight games thus far, John Clay has only managed to run for 887 yards, and 13 TD. Two of those games were against the country's most stout of defenses—Iowa. In his junior year, Clay has only added to his Heisman-resume, along with thoroughly impressing NFL scouts along the ride.

Along with the ever-improving defense lead by defensive-end J.J. Watt, the Badgers have a multitude of elements that seem to be gelling together on a day-to-day basis.

It's a true testament to the character and drive of this football team: defeating then No.1 ranked Ohio State in the national stage, and denying Iowa's dreams of a Big Ten title on the road. The Badgers truly deserve more respect.

It now seems as though the Badgers hold their own destiny to a Rose Bowl berth, with Iowa's demolition-derby over previously undefeated Michigan State vaulting them towards the top of the Big Ten standings, all while holding the all-important tie-breaker over Ohio State.

Just think—if this team would've managed to beat Michigan State (a team currently in BCS free-fall) on the road, we'd be looking at a sure-fire top five ranking for the Badgers —possibly top-three?

But, in the end, this is college football: a sport in which one simple loss can catapult you out of the "big game" picture faster than you can possibly imagine.

As reported by SI.com's Stewart Mandel on November 1st: "From what I can tell, the Badgers stand the best chance in most tiebreaker scenarios because they beat both Ohio State and Iowa and they're now ranked higher than Michigan State in the BCS standings."

Mandel also went as far as to predict the entire BCS picture, including Wisconsin vs. Utah in the Rose bowl.

Utah's biggest game of the year comes this Saturday against undefeated TCU 3:30 ET. Should Utah stun the entire country with a victory, the Utes of Utah would likely match-up against the Badgers.

A Rose Bowl victory would absolutely launch Wisconsin back onto the national stage heading into 2011. Along with putting head coach Bret Bielema in the discussion as one of the country's best, there is still a lot yet to be accomplished this season for the Badgers.

Remaining Schedule

@ Purdue (4-4)

Vs. Indiana (4-4)

@ Michigan (5-3)

Vs. Northwestern (6-2)

I like the Badgers' chances when looking at the remaining schedule, although two critical games against Michigan and Northwestern should really test our limits, proving we are truly the class of the Big Ten.

This team is on a mission, without a doubt. Look for John Clay to put up the Heisman numbers we all expect of him in the last four games of the season.

Bret Bielema's crew, as expected, has stood up to its critics this year, and will continue to prove they are a force to be dealt with. Rest assured, the Badgers will be ready.

It's years like these that make us all proud to be Badgers fans.


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