For the past 5 years or so I have preached that the Wisconsin Badgers are among the most overrated college football teams in the nation. Yeah have been a prominent team and at the beginning of the 2018 season considered a playoff contender. An early season loss to BYU ended that dream. No doubt about it the stadium, the fans, and the atmosphere in Madison is great on game-day. But the team itself has had much to be desired from. The Barry Alvarez days ended and the Badgers became a shell of the former football powerhouse.
Lets begin when the Badgers made it to 3 straight Rose Bowls from 2010 to 2012. They proceeded to lose all 3. Since 2013 following the 3 straight Rose Bowl losses, they played in-conference teams with a record of 206-261 or a .441 win % without counting Ohio State. The Badgers did what they were supposed to do against the cupcakes of the division, but against conference teams who had finished seasons with double digit wins (the elites) they went 2-4 again without Ohio State being factored in. Now we will get to Ohio State. In my eyes the Big Ten is OSU on top and then a big big gap followed by everyone else. OSU plays with the big boys. The Alabamas, Clemsons, Oklahomas, etc. Since 2013 there was one season they did not play each other, but all other seasons, the Badgers have gone 0-4 including an embarrassing 59-10 loss in the 2014 Big Ten Championship. A classic example of playing an actual elite team and getting shell shocked. Wisconsin fans if your going to hype up the team as being one of the elites, they first have to beat the elites.
The reason why they can’t beat an elite team is because they have failed to bring in a top quarterback. I cant deny the quality of RBs are superb in Madison, but there comes a point against elite teams that you have to have a play-maker at QB. Over the past 2 seasons where Wisconsin is supposed to compete for a championship, a QB with 26 picks over that span will not get the job done.
Finally, Russell Wilson. Badger fans, PLEASE stop cheering for him because he was a Badger! He was on the team for one year and led the team to yet another Rose Bowl loss. Yes he is a good QB, but don’t like a guy because he was on the team for 1 measly season. That being said, there is reason to question why he came to a RB school to get noticed for QB performance. He was on the same team with Montee Ball and James White in a year where Ball finished 4th in Heisman voting. Also he is not liked in his own locker room. For more on that read here. Also if you are a Packer fan how can you like a guy who threw 4 picks and still beat you in the 2014 NFC Championship game.
Now I do need to give the Badgers credit in regard to a few things. 1) They usually will schedule one out of conference game that is a test. From 2013 to 2016 they played at Arizona St, and then at a neutral location against LSU, Alabama, and LSU again. They went 1-3 in those games but I respect the fact that they played them. 2) They went out and got a top QB recruit for next season. Graham Mertz is the highest rated QB recruit in school history and maybe what the Badgers need to actually be an elite team. 3) They produce quality offensive line, defense, and running back talent. All this while doing much in-state recruiting. For not getting the 4 and 5 star recruits down in California, Texas, and Florida, they make the most of the talent they are given.
The Badgers are now on the right track. Hornibrook is gone and a top QB recruit is in. The Badgers now have to prove that they are a contender instead of a pretender. The Badgers have gotten themselves in good positions to make a championship run, but they just cant seem to win when it matters most. They cant get that end of season win against a top team. Mertz might be the answer.