Wisconsin’s focus: Just keep winning
“The BCS standings for me are so confusing. All I know is we just have to keep on winning games. Just keep on winning, being solid,” Carimi said.
A 63-point rout certainly doesn’t hurt.
Wisconsin beat Indiana, 83-20, on Saturday in its biggest statement yet that the sixth-ranked Badgers are no longer a boring offensive bunch and believe they deserve their first BCS bowl game in school history.
“I have not seen a score like that, even in high school. So it’s a great feeling. It’s a good thing that we did that and show everybody what we can do,” said Montee Ball, who finished with 167 yards rushing and three touchdowns in his first career start.
The Badgers (9-1, 5-1) scored the most points in school history since an 85-0 win over Marquette in 1915. The 83 points were the most in a Big Ten game since Ohio State beat Iowa 83-21 in 1950 and the most by a ranked team since No. 16 Houston beat SMU 95-21 in 1989.
If the Badgers, Ohio State (9-1, 5-1) and Michigan State (9-1, 5-1) all finish 11-1, the team ranked highest in the BCS standings will be the conference’s representative. Wisconsin is trying to reach the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2000.
“We keep hearing things about the BCS and obviously we take notes and we all watch it, but we still have to keep our one-game mentality,” tight end Lance Kendricks said. “We are doing a pretty good job at it.”
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema was again defending a late decision perceived as attempting to run up the score, this time calling a pass on third-and-6 up 69-13 in the fourth quarter. The result—backup quarterback Jon Budmayr hit Jared Abbrederis for a 74-yard touchdown pass that made it 76-20.
“There was no malice intended,” Bielema said. “I wanted to give us a chance to make a first down, I didn’t want to handicap my second-string quarterback and not allow him to run our offense.”
Third-stringer Nate Tice’s 17-yard scramble provided the final score.
Former Minnesota coach Tim Brewster also accused Bielema of trying to run up the score against the Gophers this year, even though the BCS doesn’t take into account margin of victory. Poll voters do keep tabs on the results and the Badgers lost six poll points this week.
Wisconsin’s low computer rankings stem from a cupcake nonconference schedule with wins over UNLV, San Jose State, Arizona State and FCS member Austin Peay. Those four teams are a combined
9-31 this season.
Bielema has said he
doesn’t regret the nonconference slate, but it’s clearly hurting them in the rankings.
“We’re a very, very good football team. We’re a good team that stays focused. If we do play poorly, we know how to get it back, and there’s a lot of maturity with these guys,” Bielema said.
Running back John Clay is expected back at practice this week after spraining his right knee at Purdue. Wisconsin next travels to its own personal house of horrors—Michigan Stadium. The last time the Badgers were in the Big House, they squandered a 19-0 halftime lead and lost 27-25.
“We all know what happened the last time we went to Michigan. We let something happen up there that was embarrassing to me, embarrassing to our program and put us on a little bit of a tailspin there for a while,” Bielema said. “So for us to go up there, I think it’s going to be a nice experience to be able to just focus on Michigan.”