The Wisconsin Badgers are looking to become the first Big Ten team to win three consecutive conference championships for the first time since Michigan did it from 1977-1979. The Huskers are looking for their first conference championship since 1999 and first in their new conference. The fact the Badgers are even traveling to Indianapolis for a shot this season is amazing given the circumstances (both good and bad) around this season.
The bad luck started just two days before the Badgers were set to begin fall practice. Their star running back Montee Ball was jumped by three men in downtown Madison and suffered a concussion. Ball fully recovered and turned in another outstanding season, good enough to be named to the AFCA Coaches’ All-America Team for the second year in a row.
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Ball broke the NCAA career record for touchdowns by scoring the 79th of his career on a 17-yard run at Penn State and has averaged 153.6 yards per game since Oct. 1, good for second-best in the country. He also ranks third in the country among BCS running backs in yards after contact with 732.
Wisconsin has dropped three of their last four games in overtime, and they are representing the Leaders Division after finishing in third place behind Penn State and Urban Meyer’s Ohio State squad that ran the table to a perfect 12-0. However, neither team is eligible for postseason play and Wisconsin is offering no apologies despite having just the sixth best record in the conference. The Badgers feel they belong.
There is no doubt the Huskers belong in the championship game. They repeatedly battled week in and week out, never giving up and always finding ways to pull out a win at the end. This includes a six game win streak coming after a debacle in Columbus, OH. This team knows what it feels like to have their backs against the wall and…they know how to finish. That’s the major difference between the Huskers and Badgers this season…NU has been able to finish off games.
Don’t count out Wisconsin. Their coaching staff knows how to win close games. This team was just a handful of plays away from winning those close overtime losses.
Nebraska can ill-afford to fall behind early like they did in the first meeting with Wisconsin. At some point sports always has a way of evening out and one has to wonder how many come-from-behind wins do the Huskers have left and how many more times will Wisconsin go without winning a close game?