Punt/Counterpunt: Wisconsin 2017

Submitted by Seth on November 18th, 2017 at 8:54 AM

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[Marc-Grégor Campredon]

PUNT

By Bryan MacKenzie

What do you want to be when you grow up?

It's one of the earliest small-talk questions, and shows up starting around age six. What grade are you in? Do you like school? What do you want to be?

Set aside, for the moment, that the above is an entirely insane progression of questions for anyone, let alone a child (How long have you been a human? I see. Do you prefer recess or drawing or reading stories about mischievous bears the best? Gotcha. Okay, how do you plan to spend your earthly existence?). Kids always have an answer; they want to be a veterinarian, or a firefighter, or an astronaut, or a princess, or an old west sheriff.

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Aaron Sheldon

But the thing adults fail to mention is that plenty of adults can't actually answer that question.

Sure, adults can tell you what they *do*. They are doctors, lawyers, engineers, sales people, window washers.  And some (maybe even most) can tell you what they would like to do next. But the transition from a job to a career to an identity can be a slow one. And an unconscious one. And an imprecise one. You may be hired on Day One as "Jerry, the new guy in Widgets," but it may be months, or years, or even decades before you are "Jerry the Widget guy." Everyone knows what Jerry is about, and how Jerry operates, and what you can and can't ask Jerry to do.

Some people never make that transition. Lots of people just work their jobs, and find their identities elsewhere, like the weight room. Or the community. But if I tell you someone is going to visit Dr. James Andrews, you instantly know the deal. And if I tell you Adam Sandler is in a movie, a lot of questions have already been answered.

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Draws space-time, draws happy little trees, draws specious conclusions

Michigan knows what it wants to do offensively under Jim Harbaugh. They spent the first couple of years working with what they had (much of which was quite good), but at the same time they laid out a career plan for the future. They wanted to be a downhill, smash-mouth, "pro-style" offense. They want to run a mix of gap and zone, but their bread and butter is gonna be big ol' offensive guards gliding across the formation to abuse some poor damn linebacker in the hole.

They want defenses so worried about the power play that they create massive cutback lanes and expose themselves to counters, only to see Michigan counter those counters, and counter THOSE counters, until, like the World Turtle, it's counters all the way down. They want a collection of Hobart's Funnies at tight end, fullback, and running back who can force defensive coordinators to worry whether they even have a club in their bag for that shot.

And over the last few weeks, we've seen what that all might look like. And it has been exciting.

But Wisconsin? Wisconsin doesn't have an idea what they want to do. They know exactly who they are as an offense, as a team, and as a football program. Schemes have been tweaked, tactics have been updated, and the coaching staff has even turned over from time to time. But when I say "Wisconsin Football," you know exactly what I'm talking about. They are two decades into a very large, boring, physically uncomfortable experiment.

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Michigan will get there. And in the long run, I would rather be where Michigan is going. But Wisconsin is already there. And for the moment, that is enough.

Wisconsin 21, Michigan 13

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COUNTERPUNT

By Nick RoUMel

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When I was born, I got no respect. The doctor told my mother, “I did all I could, but he pulled through anyway.”

Boy, is Bucky mad. Borrowing a page from the Mark Dantonio/Rodney Dangerfield playbook, Bucky’s wrath is directed at the CFP, who has them ranked on the outside looking in, because their schedule “just isn’t there.” Bucky begs to differ - but you be the judge:

Week 1 – Wisconsin 59, Little Ducklings Day Care 10

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The “Battlin’ Babies” stunned Wisconsin with two quick scores to go up 10-0, but were soon derailed by hunger, wet nappies, and some pretty intense owies. The Badgers cruised to the easy victory.

Week 2 – Wisconsin 31, Sisters of Mercy 14

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The “Flying Nuns” kept it close for a half, but despite fervent prayer and a successful Hail Mary, couldn’t pull off the upset.

Week 3 – Wisconsin 40, Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats 6

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The “Helpless Kittens” used their cunning and athleticism to forge an early tie, but soon got bored, took naps, and licked themselves in nether regions. Wisconsin took advantage and scored the comfortable victory.

Week 4 – Wisconsin 33, Munchkinland 24

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The Badgers seemed on their way to another convincing win, but the “Lollipop Kids” put together two late scores and had the ball at the end with a chance to tie when the Mayor was distracted by a flying monkey and sacked in the end zone to snuff out the upset hopes.

Week 5 – Wisconsin 38, Cleveland Browns 17

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The Brownies fought hard for their first victory of the year, and even tied the game in the third quarter, before Wisconsin put together some late drives to remain undefeated.

Week 6 – Wisconsin 17, Powerchair Wheelers 9

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The Badgers were stymied by the Wheelers’ formidable flying wedge - and considerable heart - turning the ball over three times. They nonetheless managed to outlast the visitors and improved to 6-0.

Week 7 – Wisconsin 24, Illinois 10

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Like father, like son.

Playing perhaps the most hapless team on their schedule, the Badgers spoiled the Illini homecoming celebration, and sullied their throwback uniforms, harassing Jeff George Jr. into three turnovers en route to another notch on Bucky’s belt.

Week 8 – Wisconsin 45, Bud Light 17

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Fortuitously retaining several Jonathan Taylor fumbles from falling into the necks of their armless opposition, the Badgers gritted out another road victory over a weak, piss-poor opponent, breaking open a cold one in the third quarter when Bud Light proved to be “less filling.”

Week 9 – Wisconsin 38, Iowa 14

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These guys are actually vegan.

OK fine, they beat Iowa. Wisconsin silenced some critics by taking home the Heartland Trophy, after crushing the team that had just demolished the Buckeyes.

The Badgers aren’t terrible. Despite their cottony-soft schedule, they’ve done what they’re supposed to do, in ways you expect them to do it (see Punt, above). Freshman and Rutgers flip Jonathan Taylor runs behind a massive offensive line to pile up monster yards. Sophomore quarterback Randy Creek has completed 64% of his passes, with 17 TDs (but 12 picks). Their defense ranks first in total defense, ahead of Alabama and Michigan.

But Michigan are not babies, nuns or kittens. We are the Wolverines - and we are certainly not cottony-soft. There’s a reason Bucky don’t get no respect; he just don’t deserve it.

MICHIGAN 17, WISCONSIN 14

Comments

Alumnus93

November 18th, 2017 at 9:17 AM ^

Yet, it's their offensive line, is what I want us to return to.... I look at that photo above and reminisce about the days of Bo,when our OL was massive, and a cut above. Instead, now we have a center-sized LT, and an average sized line, save Onwenu. And this has been going on since 2008.

Amaznbluedoc

November 18th, 2017 at 9:22 AM ^

I may be half way round the world at the moment but can’t wait to see the wolverines take on the badgers. Can’t say anything with certainty other than I’m hoping for a good game and a Michigan victory. Go Blue and stomp the badgers.

mgobleu

November 18th, 2017 at 10:01 AM ^

I still don't know why one of these has never been done with just pop evil lyrics...

We are the blue regime: ferocious, lean (-that part's about our Oline), and mean.

We're gonna reign supreme. Why? We are the Wolverines!

You won't forget our name! (It's "Wolverines"; see above)

We'll bring the hurt and pain!
We're gonna change the game (within all applicable NCAA rules and guidelines, of course)

We are the Wolverines! (See I told you you wouldn't forget)

We're gonna show our teeth- when we don't have our mouth guards in.
We're gonna stomp our feet! It's scary!

We'll bring you to your knees! (Not the bdsm way)

We are the Wolverines! (In case you'd forgotten)

We're gonna get real loud! We're gonna feel the crowd! (Not really; we stand with sexual assault victims. NO means NO.)

We do Ann Arbor proud! (Her real name was Ann Allen and she didn't even like the state that much, but still, look her up!)

We are the Wolverines!. -Who?

MadMatt

November 18th, 2017 at 10:08 AM ^

Michigan demolishes an overrated Wisconsin, who goes to the Rose Bowl anyway because they avoid every other decent team in the Conference. Wasn't this the entire decade of the 90s? Or the season they were in a Division with two teams that were ineligible for the postseason? Or 2016 for that matter?
I'm going with Counter Punt.

BlueDragon

November 18th, 2017 at 10:39 AM ^

*thinking emoji*

You know what? Fine. Pummel away, Browns-haters. I can't take part in a fan uprising to fire Jimmy "Silver Spoon" Haslam the way we got Dave Brandon fired. I like it when the Browns get pummeled. A monument to managerial incompetence for all time.

Jimmy should be in prison for fraud, not in charge of ruining an NFL franchise. Even if the Real Browns are in Baltimore now with two Super Bowl wins to their name.

You Only Live Twice

November 18th, 2017 at 10:45 AM ^

Dang good installment this week guys.  

Bryan provides a nicely drawn summation of football and life (like the nod to Hawking too) I would only reverse his final score.  Nick had a veritable assembly line of humor of the coffee-spitting variety from opening to close. 

If we don't win the game, at least the day got off to a good start.  

 

 

 

Y-UM

November 18th, 2017 at 11:13 AM ^

It's extraordinarly beneficial, in these times of pompous pundit pontificating, to encounter such lucid, carefully reasoned, objective analysis of Wisconsin's season so far.

Fingers crossed that the Wolverines make Wisky Badgy JUMP the shark.