When I first found out about ESPNBoston.com, essentially a spinoff of ESPN.com devoted entirely to Boston teams, I thought it was a good idea.
MINNEAPOLIS—As the Wisconsin Badgers paraded around TCF Bank Stadium's field with Paul Bunyan's axe, allowing as many red clad fans to touch it as they could, the celebration almost felt like an emotional release of all the tension that led up to it.
On a weekend that began with a message from head coach Mark Johnson, a highlight video from their national championship run in the 2008-'09 season and the unveiling of a banner celebrating that achievement, the Wisconsin women's hockey team quickly learned that their opponents would not bow down and let the Badgers cakewalk to another title.
It wasn't too long ago when the Badgers played by the maxim that they would run the ball down their opponent's throat because they knew they couldn't be stopped, and opposing defenses knew their chances of stopping Wisconsin were slim.
The Wisconsin volleyball team (0-2 Big Ten, 5-6 overall) will finish up a three-match road trip this weekend with games at Ohio State (1-1 Big Ten, 13-2 overall) and Penn State (2-0 Big Ten, 14-0 overall). After traveling to the raucous Sports Pavilion last Friday, where it was swept by the Golden Gophers, Wisconsin looks to rebound in hopes of its first Big Ten win.
Wisconsin (5-5-2) took on Minnesota (8-2-0) in the classic border battle match-up on a cold and rainy night at the McClimon Sports Complex. At the end of the long and much-delayed evening, the Gophers came out on top, 2-1, in an overtime victory over the Badgers.
The score may indicate otherwise, but those present at the UW football team's 38-30 win over Michigan State last weekend realize what a big-time statement it was. The Badgers always seem to let things get a little too exciting, as shown by a careless 91-yard touchdown reception they surrendered in the final minute. Wisconsin was in control for most of the game, answering critics who said their performance in non-conference games wouldn't cut it against the rest of the Big Ten.
For years we heard the excuse.
I hate to jump the gun and turn into one of those overexcited fans, but if you're looking at what Wisconsin has done so far, and looking ahead at its schedule, there's a strong possibility the Badgers could be headed for a major postseason date in January.
When a team spent its last year dominating all of its competition, losing just two games all year on the way to a third national championship in four years, it's reasonable to expect an equally dominant season from them the next year.
The Wisconsin men's soccer team continues its stretch of strong opponents tonight as they travel to Chicago for a non-conference matchup with the University of Illinois-Chicago.
The Wisconsin volleyball team headed north to take on Minnesota Friday, hoping to get a challenging three game road stretch off on the right foot. The Badgers struggled, however, and were swept in straight sets by their rivals 25-15, 25-26, 26-24.