Wisconsin and Alabama square off this Saturday. Here's the kind of reaction you can expect if the Badgers fall to the Crimson Tide.
So… yeah. Wisconsin lost to Alabama. Probably in convincing fashion. As most in the college football world predicted.
As it turned out, the new UW offensive line just wasn’t up to the level of its predecessors, especially when slammed by a Crimson tidal wave. Or the front seven didn’t have enough push to really disrupt Alabama’s new quarterback. Or Joel Stave did something bad, even though he looked excellent in fall camp. Maybe a combination of those reasons. Maybe something else entirely.
Winning would have been amazing. It would have established Wisconsin as a nationally competitive team and a playoff contender. Instead, it seems clear that the three or four best teams in the Big Ten reside in the East Division. Pretty bleak.
But now, the good news: Wisconsin’s schedule. As it turns out, the Alabama game was the football scheduling equivalent of eating your broccoli before the rest of a nice homemade dinner. The unpleasant part is over, it probably made you stronger long-term and now you get to dig into mom’s chewy mac and cheese.
The Badgers will be favored to win every remaining game of their non-conference schedule by at least two touchdowns, and then they’ll be walking into quite possibly the easiest conference schedule in the Power 5. No Ohio State. No Michigan State. No Penn State. No Michigan. And again, no Ohio State.
The toughest opponents on Wisconsin’s remaining schedule at this moment are Nebraska, the team the Badgers have made a habit of gratuitously humiliating, and Minnesota, who the Badgers haven’t lost to since “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” hit theaters. Wisconsin still figures to be a strong team, and a strong team finishes 9-3 at worst in the regular season with this schedule.
Wisconsin lost to Alabama. Lots of team do that. Lots of good teams do that. If you say losing to the Crimson Tide is a season-ruiner for the Badgers, you probably had unrealistic expectations from the beginning.
This team still has a lot to offer, especially when you consider that UW is coupling a Paul Chryst offense with a Dave Aranda defense, which is basically a dream scenario of past UW coordinators. So lighten up, and get ready to enjoy the season thanks to both a soft schedule and a promising new head coach leading a UW team that still holds an enviable amount of talent.
The hard part is over.