I'm nervous for this Wisconsin game on Saturday against Michigan. Either I'm being paranoid or it seems like the perfect storm for a Wolverine upset.
I always tell my basketball teams one of the toughest things for a defense to do is guard two things consecutively. It's "easy" to defend one action but it's difficult to defend one thing and then immediately defend something else. I've always thought it's difficult for teams to defend the "and then....". For most teams, defending a ball screen isn't tough. But if it's a ball screen and then the screener runs off a flare screen? More challenging. It's human nature to let up after completing that first action. It takes something hard work and effort to tie two consecutive tasks together. Defending a ball-side cut after a pass isn't too tough but if you have to defend on a ball-side cut and then help against a post entry pass.....more challenging. Then again, my lifetime Varsity coaching record is 1-20 so what the hell do I know.
But this feels like the "and then..." game for the Badgers.
Wisconsin has had their two home games in November circled on the calendar all season. The hope was that Wisconsin could get through their first 9 games with a fairly easy schedule undefeated, and head into those home match-ups 9-0. You never know what happens in a season but that seemed possible heading into the season with the talent on the Badgers team this year. And they did. 9-0 heading into the home matchup against Iowa.
And the Iowa game went as planned. Even better than planned. It was a dominating performance. 10-0. Clinched the Big Ten West. Assured themselves a spot in the Big Ten Championship. Moved all the way up to #5 in the College Football Playoff rankings. Almost guaranteed themselves a spot in the Playoffs if they win out. For the first time all season, you can kind of feel the fan base starting to look ahead at the finish line a little bit. Hopes are really starting to rise.
And then....Michigan comes to town.
Wisconsin took care of the first part of the home slate. Can they finish off the job with the second part?
Is it just me or has Michigan kind of been under the radar most of this season. Granted that's mostly in part to them not having a good win this year but it feels like they could be a sleeping giant. This was suppose to be "The Game" on Wisconsin's soft schedule but it almost feels like the Badgers should roll. It doesn't feel, at least to me, that the hype is all the way there yet. And I know College Game Day is going to be in Madison but it just feels off to me.
And maybe this is just me getting anxious now that we are at that big game. Anxious that this is that biggest test of the year so far for Bucky. There's a rivalry game next week to take care of but this seems like the barrier between Wisconsin and 12-0. I hope the "and then...." doesn't bite them.
I know I go overboard sometimes on my WWE hyperbole sometime, but honestly this is one of the best lineups for a non-WrestleMania pay-per-view in years.
Survivor Series has lost it's luster as one of the "Big Four" PPVs over the past decade but WWE has been trying to shake that label for a couple years now and really put on a card this year. An impressive lineup if there ever was one:
WWE Universal Champion vs. WWE Heavyweight Champion
Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles
The Shield vs. The New Day
RAW Women's Champion vs. SmackDown Women's Champion
Alexa Bliss vs. Charlotte Flair
That's two legitimate dream matches for wrestling fans in Lesnar/Styles and Shield/New Day. Add in the women's Champion vs. Champion match that is a WrestleMania worthy match and the top of the card is stacked. STACKED.
And that's before you even get to the two other champions vs. champions matches and the two traditional Survivor Series elimination matches.
Just look at the rosters on the men's side alone for the Survivor Series match
RAW: Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Triple H
SmackDown: Shane McMahon, John Cena, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, Randy Orton
That's some star power folks. And on top of all of this on Sunday, you have the return of WarGames on Saturday night at NXT Takeover. I always tell non-wrestling fans that if you are wanting to jump into the product or back into wrestling, then the Royal Rumble is the time to do it. It's a fun event every year and leads into WrestleMania season when WWE always produces their best content. But if you don't want to wait another 2 months then this is as good a time as any. Sign up for the one month free preview of the WWE Network and watch this PPV and get hooked. You won't regret it.
Thought there were a lot of things that could have filled this last section. Just gonna throw them all into one here with the Quick Hitters.
- Mike and Mike in the Morning comes to an end today. Really loved that show about 3-5 years ago but not sure I've watched in the past 3 years more than two times. Not sure if the show ran out of steam or I grew out of it. But felt like it was a show that was a little ahead of it's time at first and now maybe a little behind the times. Hell of a run though.
- Good to see the Cyclones get back on track with a win last night in that Puerto Rico Challenge or whatever they are playing in. Didn't get to see any of the game but a win is a win at this point in the season for this team. I don't care if it was against Appalachian State, can't take wins for granted this year.
- I know time heals all wounds but let's not forget that fact that Iowa only had 66 yards of total offense against the Badgers last Saturday. Great game plan Brian Ferentz!
- The North Polk Comet girls basketball season kick off tonight. Comets vs. Carlisle at Newton. 5:00PM. Then back to Newton again tomorrow to face Newton.
- As an Iowa Central alum, thought this was a fantastic article about their head football coach Kevin Twait as he retires. He really built that program to a hell of a standard while I was at Iowa Central. I never had much interactions with Coach Twait but he was always kind to me during the few I had with him and always struck me as a great guy and a great family.
- If there are four better teams in the Big Ten this basketball season than Wisconsin, the Big Ten is going to be TOUGH this year.