Line up, naysayers: Badgers off to Rose Bowl

INDIANAPOLIS – Wisconsin spent the better part of the last month hearing about how it didn’t deserve to be in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game. Now, for the next month, it will hear that it has no business playing in the Rose Bowl, the program’s third consecutive Grandaddy of Them All.

That’s just fine by these Badgers, the Rose Bowl’s first five-loss team.

“I don’t care,” Dezmen Southward said. “I really don’t care.”

And they shouldn’t. Not after Saturday night’s absolutely dominating 70-31 win over previously streaking No. 14 Nebraska.

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“I don’t think we need to say anything,” Chris Borland said. “Our performance tonight speaks volumes.”

It really did. Consider the following:

  • Wisconsin boasted two 200-yard rushers for the first time in program history.
  • Wisconsin finished with 539 rushing yards, the fourth-highest total in school history.
  • Wisconsin tied a conference championship game scoring record, matching Texas’ 70 points in the 2005 Big 12 title game.

The already eye-popping figures are all the more impressive because they came against a Nebraska team that had won six straight and limited the Badgers to 56 rushing yards earlier this season.

Yes, 56 yards. On this night, the Badgers had three scoring scampers of at least 56 yards, including Melvin Gordon’s 56-yard run that marked the game’s first points.

As impressive as Saturday night’s demolition was, it doesn’t figure to soften the naysayers’ stance. After all, this still is a five-loss team that only boasts two wins over teams currently over .500 (Utah State, 10-2; Nebraska 10-3), this latest one the lone versus a BCS team.

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“We can’t listen to the critics,” said Southward, who notched 10 tackles. “I mean, if we didn’t belong here, the result would have been different.”

The result was nothing short of stunning. Few predicted Wisconsin to win, and even fewer did so in an absolute rout.

But now, despite the handful of losses (by a total of 19 points), the three overtime defeats, the third-place finish in the Leaders Division, Wisconsin is 60 minutes away from achieving the goal it sets every offseason.

“I’d much rather be 8-5 and win the Rose Bowl than be 11-2 and lose it,” Southward said.

Right on. Southward and the Badgers get that chance Jan. 1, 2013, when they battle Pac-12 champ Stanford.

About Brent Yarina BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.

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13 Comments

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bj on 12/2/2012 @ 8:42am EDT Said:

Great job Wisconsin, now make the big ten proud and lose in the rose bowl. I don’t care if you had an impressive game, the rest of your season was unspectacular. I feel bad for Ohio state and Penn state, they are denied the opportunity because of mistakes from people who aren’t even involved with the team anymore.

Kk on 12/2/2012 @ 11:40am EDT Said:

Maybe Ohio State and Penn State should have hired/recruited people with better character.

Doug on 12/2/2012 @ 11:47am EDT Said:

hey bj, why do you feel bad for OSU and PSU? If OSU would have done a self imposed ban last year, they would have played this year. If JoePa wouldn’t have covered for Sandusky for so long, maybe they wouldn’t have been hit so bad. Get over it. Wisconsin was in every game, quit being a hater.

Joe W on 12/2/2012 @ 12:25pm EDT Said:

I feel bad for the CURRENT players and current coaches…not the admins at the schools. I would like to see heavy fines and certainly suspend or expel players and coaches involved, but the delayed penalties to players and coaches not involved is really stupid as it will NEVER deter the actions that caused the penalties. Without serious penalties that affect those who actually break the rules, the violations will become a “cost” of running the business of major college athletics (and anyone who thinks “off the reservation stuff” is not going on at their schools is delusional as both the participants in last nights game have violated portions of the NCAA manual in the last two years per the NCAA website). So congrats Wisconsin…go win the Rose Bowl.

chuck on 12/2/2012 @ 12:31pm EDT Said:

congrats to Wisconsin they deserve the bowl. They haven’t been cheating and violating rules. So quit griping!!!

Anthony G. Brown on 12/2/2012 @ 12:40pm EDT Said:

How did this turn into an OSU-PSU discussion?

Perhaps the naysayers believe Nebraska is more deserving of the title? Wisconsin did what they had to do when they needed to do it, and they did it big. Kudos to them. Good luck to the Badgers and all the B1G Ten teams in all the Bowl games.

sosofan on 12/2/2012 @ 3:43pm EDT Said:

I have to WI credit for coming up with a new scheme to win one game. But it takes a season of wins to go to the Rose Bowl! They still don’t deserve to be there with a 4-4 record!

Doug on 12/2/2012 @ 6:26pm EDT Said:

sosofan, they do deserve it, they just blew out a 10-2 team by 6 touchdowns.

On Wisconsin on 12/3/2012 @ 1:25am EDT Said:

As a Badger fan it is tough to stomach that they get to go with all of those losses it just isn’t how college football and the Rose Bowl is done traditionally, in college football the whole season matters. But let us look at this from a different perspective if this was the NFL you would be saying the Badgers suffered through injuries, a new coaching staff, and adversity but are hitting their groove when it counts the most. In fact you might even go to the commissioner and say that those darn Badgers were resting players during regular season games, and keeping the playbook closed up.

If you are a real fan of college football and know the B1G you can’t possibly believe that the Badgers don’t actually have the talent to be the best team in teh B1G this year. The talent got healthy when it counted and showed up to play when it counted. With weeks to prepare for Stanford the Badgers will represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl well the same way it has done the last two years despite loosing nail biters to teams that were in the top 3 in the nation. If you thought your Big Ten program was going to beat Oregon or TCU you are out of your minds.

Mo on 12/3/2012 @ 10:46am EDT Said:

They are much better than their record indicates. They started the season with Montee Ball not being 100% then a few starters out for almost every game. Plus the quarterback controversy at the beginning of the season and the offensive line coordinator teaching them different tactics than what Wisconsin is known for. They lost to Oregon State who then went on to be a BCS ranked team. They never got blown out of a game.While Ohio State is a great team they only beat Indiana by 2 points!!! How does that happen? Going into overtime with all the best teams says they are as good as them. Give them credit for getting their act together and getting it done when it counts most. Plus, the Rose Bowl games they lost were not blow outs either. They held their own! Good luck Badgers!!!! On Wisconsin!

Jay on 12/3/2012 @ 12:02pm EDT Said:

Wisconsin did do a great job on Saturday night of manhandling Nebraska the way Ohio State did and showing just how terrible Nebraska’s run defense is. Next up is another loss for the Badgers in the Rose Bowl. History will show that they are the Buffalo Bills of the 90’s of the Rose Bowl.

Doug on 12/3/2012 @ 3:50pm EDT Said:

Damn Jay, sour grapes? I bet every other big ten teams wishes they were going to the rose bowl for the 3rd straight year, even if they are losses.

scott on 12/4/2012 @ 2:28am EDT Said:

Exactly, Schembechler lost almost every rose he went to and he is revered. I hate that bielema loses all those rose bowls but at least he makes it there.

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