Monday, November 15, 2010

(So, any problem with Wisconsin running up the score?)

No, not really.

(Why not?)

Bret Bielema is a lot of things. “Kind of a dick” is probably one of them. But so is “cold and calculating.” I will remind you of his abuse of the new kickoff rules against Penn State a few years ago that almost caused Joe Paterno to have a heart attack. I like that the coach of the Badgers cares enough to understand the subtleties of certain rules, and has the fortitude to abuse those rules where they can be abused.

The fact is that the BCS has the Badgers behind several other one-loss teams, and the nonsensical “computer” part isn’t going to give them any help. Their only hope is to move up in the equally nonsensical polls, and the polls care about margin of victory even if they pretend not to. Moreover, the controversial move has garnered the program far more attention this morning than they normally get, and as they say, all publicity is good publicity.

(But really, what’s the difference between 83 and like, 56?)

At 56 you’re just another team. Teams routinely put up 56. Scoring more really helps you a lot. Much of the way we look at Oregon is based on some outlandish scores (72-0 over New Mexico, 60-13 over UCLA, plus a few 53 and 52s). If you have a few of those huge games, suddenly people start viewing you as an offensive juggernaut and the pollsters respond accordingly. Running up the score often makes logical sense.

(Didn’t they take “margin of victory” out of the BCS equation?)

To the contrary, they’ve increased the importance of “margin of victory” over time. Every time the “computers” spit out something that differs significantly from the polls, the evil BCS committee changes the equation to give more weight to the polls, and voters do care about “margin of victory.”

(Don’t you feel bad for those kids at Indiana?)

In my experience, while losing sucks, and getting blown out sucks, at some point while getting blown out you just sort of stop caring. Moreover, this isn’t Austin Peay. Indiana is a Big Ten football program that should have beaten Iowa last week. If they want to stop getting blown out by Wisconsin and the rest of the Big Ten, they should try a little harder to build a program.

(So you think this will be good for the Badgers?)

Absolutely. If nothing else they are now an attractive villain. They’re on the national radar. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Mike and Mike talk about the University of Wisconsin before, but they were all over them this morning. Everyone is going to want to see them get embarrassed by someone else, and maybe they will. Michigan can put up some points and maybe they’ll steamroll the Badgers. Who knows? But if they can keep winning, this will only help them.

(So you don’t think that coaches should “call off the dogs” at some point?)

I actually find the whole idea offensive to some extent. You don’t have any duty to the other team. If you start destroying someone I don’t know why every team doesn’t use that as an opportunity to run their 2nd string and 3rd stringers out there for some real live game work. Golic this morning said that “this wasn’t the time for that.” That’s stupid. There is no other time for that. Let me ask you some questions.

(Uhm, ok.)

Do you think Wisconsin should have just gotten in the V formation for every play after halftime and then punted?

(Well, no, but you don’t have to keep passing.)

So you want them to just run.


You know, they were running pretty well too. They were averaging 7.2 yards per carry.

(Well, they don’t have to run that hard. They could just run basic plays.)

So you want them to run plays, but you don’t want them to try to score?

(I suppose.)

To what end?

(Well, they should still play football.)

It sounds to me like you want them to just pretend to play football. Isn’t that more insulting to Indiana? How is that different from just lining up in the V?


It’s a stupid fiction that you should “call off the dogs.” Bret did what was best for his team. He put them in the best position he could. What more can you ask of a coach?

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