Sean Merriman, BTN.com web editor, November 29, 2013
Saturday will be a day filled with mixed emotions throughout the University of Wisconsin's college campus.
Chris Borland will be playing his final home game as a Badger.
It's the sad reality of the situation, even though we don't want it to happen. For the last four years, Badgers fans have been blessed with the luxury of seeing Borland play on Saturdays. Yet they all knew this day would come. The same way parents know that one day their kids will move out of the house, create a new college experience, and one day build a family of their own.
Chris Borland has given Wisconsin football fans enough energy, enough sweat and enough unforgettable moments for any 11 players, let alone one. So, on Saturday afternoon, in Madison, WI., Borland will do what he does best. He will make plays, he will lead, and he will do whatever he can to close out his career at Camp Randall Stadium with a victory.
Parting ways is never easy.
"It hasn't really sunk it yet," Borland said when asked about his college career coming to an end on an episode of #BTNLive last week. "I'm starting to realize that each thing I do now is the last."
One thing is for certain– Borland is closing out his final season at Wisconsin in memorable fashion. Heading into Saturday's game against Penn State, the Badgers' senior captain ranks third in the Big Ten in tackles per game, averaging 9.2 stops per contest. He is just eight tackles away from reaching 100, which would be the third season Borland has reached that impressive milestone.
It's not everyday you find someone with that type of consistency in the college game.
Borland is simply that– a model of consistency out on the gridiron. In a world where middle linebackers can be 6-foot-3 and 270 pounds, Borland makes up for his lack of size, with an immense amount of heart and determination. Quick to the ball, often picking apart opposing team's offensive game plans, he is like a coach out on the field… But one that could change the momentum of a game at any given time.
Ask anyone who played alongside Borland, and they will tell you how special of a player he is.
Ask anyone who has played against Borland, and they too, will tell you how special of a player he is.
So many honors. So much skill. So much determination to be great.
"If Chris Borland goes and plays in the Senior Bowl, I'm guaranteeing he'll be a first round draft pick," said BTN college football analyst, Howard Griffith. "Teams will get to see the things you can't measure."
If Borland does indeed end up being a first round draft pick, how can you argue with it? He has given Wisconsin four years of blood, sweat and tears. He has played in three straight Rose Bowls, and could lead his team to a fourth consecutive BCS appearance this season. He will be a three-time All-Big Ten selection, once this season comes to a close. Most importantly, he has been a leader and a role model for his teammates throughout his collegiate career.
This day had to come at some point, and everyone knew it. No staying behind for Chris Borland. It's time to move on. Time to start a new chapter.
If the next chapter in his life is anything like this past one, then Borland and everyone around him is in for a real treat.
|About Sean Merriman||BTN.com web editor Sean Merriman covers football and men's basketball and provides original content for BTN.com. You can follow him on Twitter @BTNSean.|