Enjoy it when you can, because it doesn't come very often. Barring something weird happening when the computers start belching things out, the Wisconsin Badgers are going to the Rose Bowl. A few thoughts on yesterday's 70-23 demolition of Northwestern and the Gophers winning back the Pig:
- Because the Badgers have suddenly become an offensive juggernaut for the first time in school history, there's been some talk about whether or not Bret Bielema is running up the score on teams. Having watched most of yesterday's game, I don't think so. The Badgers scored 70 primarily because Northwestern gave them the ball numerous times and couldn't tackle. Northwestern hasn't been a footwipe for a long time now but that was as bad a performance as I've seen from a squad wearing purple in a long time, especially on defense.
- As good as Montee Ball, James White and John Clay appear to be, one thing has become obvious as the season has gone on: the Badger offensive line is one of the best college lines I've ever seen. I would wager that Gabe Carimi, John Moffitt and Peter Konz will all be playing on Sundays in the future. And the scary part is that Josh Oglesby, who might be the most talented offensive lineman in Madison, hasn't even been playing this season.
- I think one thing that Bielema and offensive coordinator Paul Chryst did do consciously yesterday was showcase Badger quarterback Scott Tolzien. Tolzien was magnificent, throwing for 4 touchdown passes. There's a message there for the school that draws the Badgers in the Rose Bowl (most likely TCU): if you try to put 8 or 9 in the box to stop the run, you will pay.
- Meanwhile, you have to be happy for the Gophers, who salvaged something from an otherwise lost season by beating Iowa yesterday and reclaiming Floyd of Rosedale. Benster and I have given Gopher quarterback Adam Weber a lot of grief this year, mostly in jest, but it needs to be said: the kid has done a very good job in terrible circumstances. I suspect he'll get a chance to play on Sundays, because a guy who throws for over 11,000 yards in a college career has accomplished something. And kudos to Jeff Horton, the interim coach who led the Gophers to two more wins than his risible former boss did. I'm not sure who the Gophers will bring in next year, but they might do worse than keeping the interim guy.