Monday, January 3, 2011

Why Wisconsin Lost The Rose Bowl

I usually don't take losses too hard. After about 30 seconds or so I'm back to normal and ready to take on the rest of the day. That said, there are two loses this year that just bugged me.

1. The Packer loss to New England.

2. The Rose Bowl.

Before I get into the Rose Bowl, I would like to say that TCU played a great game, had a great game plan, and deserves all of their wins and accolades. That Carder guy is a beast.

The reason that these two losses bug me is that I think simply making a different decision or two would have prevented the loss, or at least would have made winning much more likely. In the Rose Bowl I didn't like the game plan. I thought they ran outside too much even after it was apparent that wasn't going to work. They took too many negative plays in the passing game. I would have liked so have seen nothing but Montee Ball and John Clay running up the middle all game, but I'm not a football coach and I don't study tape, and there were probably good reasons for their game plan.

But what the hell were they thinking on their last drive?

If you are down by 8 points, you will need a minimum of 2 possessions to win the game. One of those may come in overtime, but you are going to need two. Moreover, tying the game will require a 2-point conversion, and those are good just under 50% of the time. If you do not convert the 2-point conversion, you will definitely need to get the ball back. The point is, there are a lot of good reasons to hurry up if it's late and you're down by 8. Even if you have to run the ball to move the ball, as the Badgers probably did, you should not dawdle in between plays.

Here is what you need to know about the Badgers final drive.

1. They got the ball with 7:32 left in the game.

2. They eventually scored with 2:00 left in the game and one timeout.

3. This was not the time for a 5 minute, 32 second drive.

4. John Clay had a 30-yard run on a play that started at the 7:25 mark. After this play the Badgers used their 2nd timeout, yet somehow did not snap the ball again until the 6:31 mark.

I believe that had they simply hustled more on this drive they could have saved themselves a timeout as well as another minute or two. They played this with no urgency, almost as if they were resigned to the idea of getting the TD and the two without even considering what they would do if they did not convert.

And second to this complete lack of urgency, how on earth they decided to pass on their two-point conversion attempt is still beyond me.

That game was infuriating.


E.S.K. said...

I liked that they ran that last drive as a "drive to overtime" because it was clear the Badgers had worn down that TCU front. Clay was beasting and unstoppable. Had we taken it to overtime, I love the chances of a team that can get 6-7 ypc versus a team that has to throw.

What I will never understand, what will baffle me to the day I die, is why Crist went spread and threw it. It's a play I am unlikely to ever get over. I don't care that the guy was open, it was an awful decision no matter the outcome.

Jon said...

Disagree in that the game didn't really bother me that much, i thought it was a pretty even matchup and TCU played slightly better (bc their QB played slightly better). That said, the last drive was a weird one. Normally i'm with you in wanting to get a score quickly and at first i hated the run every play strategy. That said, the way Clay was dominating at that time, maybe our chances of scoring would have been significantly worse by running a hurry up pass attack. What really bugged me was Tolzien wasting a time-out earlier in the quarter (which could have been huge if we had stopped TCU in their final run out the clock attempt). As for the final play, i liked the pass call but would have preferred play action. The guy was wide open though, so can't get too upset about it. I'm baffled that anyone would be pissed at this coaching staff, with how much this team has overachieved. Throw in Bielema's amazing fake punt call to win the Iowa game, and i mean c'mon just enjoy this team and this accomplishment. It could be years or decades before we win the Big 10 again (our current recruiting class is ranked about 33rd in country and 3rd in Big 10, which sadly is close to as good as it gets for Wisconsin).