Wisco Wednesday

Wisco Wednesday… On A Thursday: Free Agent QB Arrives in Madison

Free Agency in CFB. Does anyone sit anymore? Who is QB #1 in Madison? 

Wisconsin fans, you’ve seen this story before. You were just on the other side of it.

Graham Mertz was a 4* QB fans thought would elevate the program. He showed promise in year 1, regressed in years 2 and 3, and eventually became a turnover machine that Badger fans couldn’t wait to run out of town. His time in Madison ended with him transferring to Florida to salvage his college career.

This is Tyler Van Dyke’s story… except he’s going from Florida (Miami) to Wisconsin

Why Tyler Van Dyke?

Okay, so Mertz and Van Dyke aren’t exactly the same, but they are very comparable. Tyler Van Dyke was actually better in 2021 than Mertz ever was. In the 2021 season, Van Dyke averaged over 300 ypg, and threw 25 TDs to 6 INTs. That was good enough for him to win ACC Rookie of the Year. A lot of the credit for his success, in hindsight, has gone to the up-tempo, air-raid offense Miami ran in 2021… you see where I’m going with this. 

In 2022: he had a new offensive coordinator (…

Wisco Wednesday: Transfer Portal Open Season

The Transfer Portal is Open. A Camp Randall Update. Fullbacks are People Too. 

WR Exodus

The transfer portal is open, and that means some Badgers are leaving.

The top 3 WRs from 2022 all entered the portal on Dec. 4th

  • Chimera Dike
  • Skyler Bell
  • Kiontez Lewis

While I’m not thrilled about losing these guys, a lot of it has to do with a loss of playing time. Transfers that Wisconsin brought in last year are just getting the majority of the snaps (particularly Pauling and Green). I also expect Wisconsin to go get more transfer WRs this cycle. 

A Few Other Loses

  • Braelon Allen is going to the NFL draft
  • LT Jack Nelson and C Tanor Bortolini may enter the draft (currently undecided)
  • Myles Burkett (QB3) has entered the transfer portal
  • A couple of previous walk-on guys have entered the portal

Yes, these are losses… but they are not major losses (except Braelon) or big surprises. It won’t take much for the Badgers to be net positive in the transfer portal this offseason. 

Tearing Up Alvarrez Field

Camp Randall’s turf is being torn out. It’s been through 2 football seasons, and now it’s done. …

Wisco Wednesday: A Good Ending to a Bad Season

The Ax is Back Home, But This is Not the Season Wisconsin Wanted Back in August. 

Looking Back: The Hurry-Up Raid Works

Wisconsin 28
Minnesota 14

The Offense Clicked

2 Weeks, 2 games played, 2 good offensive performances. It’s a Wisconsin miracle. Was it the Air-Raid finally working? Kinda… but not really the way you would expect. It was the Hurry-Up Raid. A balance of pass and run (lots of run), but sped way up. The hurry-up worked against Nebraska, and it worked again against Minnesota. 28 points is the most the Badgers have put up since week 4 at Purdue. Maybe Longo does know what he’s doing. I just wish it didn’t take a full season to figure it out. 

The Ax is Home

The Ax is back where it belongs: Madison, Wisconsin. Braelon Allen got to chop down the goalposts in Minneapolis before he goes to the NFL. All is well. 

Wisconsin didn’t lose to Minnesota 3 years in a row.
Wisconsin is going bowling again (and it’s not the Quick Lane Bowl).
Wisconsin will have a winning season no matter what.
Wisconsin fans are happy. 

Good things happen when

Wisco Wednesday: Rivalry Week

Down With Big Red. Down a Few Good Men for The Ax. Just One More Win.

Last Saturday was incredible. Nebraska has still never possessed the Freedom Trophy in the Wisco-Nebraska series. Now it’s time to put a 2nd trophy in the case this week. Win the ax, and some interesting and special streaks will continue for Wisconsin or end for Minnesota. 

But that stuff is secondary, just watching Minnesota lose is more than enough for most Badger fans. 

Looking Back: The Crowd Won the Game

Nebraska 17
Wisconsin 24

Terrible Start

What a surprise, the Badgers had a slow start for the 3rd time in a row. Well, actually it’s the 6th slow start in a row, but people are really dwelling on those 2 losses to Indiana and Northwestern

Wisconsin didn’t score on their first 2 possessions, and they gave up TDs on Nebraska’s first 2 drives of the game. After the 2nd Husker TD, it felt like this was going to be a repeat of the NW game. It was unsettlingly still in the stadium for several minutes. 

Winning at Half?

And then something changed. Most notably, the Air Raid showed up! I swear it’s …

Wisco Wednesday: Rock Bottom And Still Digging

Is The Bowl Streak in Jeopardy? What About Nebraska Feels So Familiar? 

There has to be 1 goal at this point: save the bowl streak. That means getting 1 more win in the last 2 games. I think Bucky can do it, but I also thought he would handle Indiana and NW. The team may have thought losing to Indiana was rock bottom, but Northwestern threw them a shovel and said keep digging. I don’t know what Fickell and the players will do at practice this week to change the performance on the field. But something has to change. 

Looking Back: They Didn’t Feel Like Playing

Wisconsin 10
Northwestern 24

Hunter Wohler’s Rant

The best player on defense did not like what he saw on Saturday. Safety Hunter Wohler was made available to the media following the beatdown at the hands of the Wildcats. Wohler proceeded to trash the effort levels of his teammate for the following 7-8 minutes. He repeatedly said he thinks this should be on the players, not the coaches, and that this isn’t why he came to Wisconsin. That sounds a little entitled, but this is a kid who chose Madison over Ohio State. And …

Wisco Wednesday: Oh No

Was That The Real Badgers? Am I Actually Scared of Northwestern? 

So I guess the Badgers are actually bad. How can a team that hung with Ohio State till the 4th quarter get beat by the worst team in the Big Ten. 

The short answer: Injuries and Coaching.

The coaching part stings. Everyone wanted Fickell to be successful from the jump. It appears that while everyone else in the conference is getting better week to week, Wisconsin is in neutral. Throw in some injuries, and now you’ve got full-blown regression. 

Save the bowl streak, save the winning record streak, get the Ax, and show enough improvement that I’m actually excited for next year. Sounds like a plan, right?

Looking Back: I Don’t Need Air Raid, I Just Need A Team

Wisconsin 14
Indiana 20

404 – Offense Not Found

I thought this would be an automatic win, and I guess the players did too. They looked unprepared and had no energy.

The offense was pathetic. Too many drops from the WRs. Too many tipped balls thrown by Locke. No broken tackles by Acker or Yacamelli. Just a complete and total mess.

Locke did not look like “the guy.” He played …

Wisco Wednesday: Moving On

Mistakes and Bad Luck Against OSU. Some Michigan Thoughts. I Pity Wisconsin’s next Opponent. 

This is a weird Wisco Wednesday piece if I’m being honest. The meat is in the middle where I look at what’s going on around the rest of the B1G. I don’t have as many thoughts about last week’s game vs. OSU or about next week’s at Indiana. TL;DR: Ohio State is good, so we lost; Indiana is bad, so we will win. The rest of the Big Ten, now that’s interesting. What happens with Michigan? Iowa pre-fired a coach, but they get to stay with the team through the bowl game. I still have stuff to say about the Badgers though, so read the whole article if that’s what you’re here for. It is Wisco Wednesday after all.

Looking Back: Braelon Drops, Locke > McCord, WRs with Feet for Hands

Ohio State 24
Wisconsin 10

It was 10-10 in the 3rd Quarter

This was not a blowout. Wisconsin did everything wrong and was still in a  position to win this game. Imagine if the Badgers did everything right instead. 

Imagine Braelon and Dike don’t get hurt. Imagine the punting is better. Imagine Pauling gets that …

Wisco Wednesday: Hope is a Dangerous Thing

A Resilient Road Comeback. An OG Braelon Performance. Madison’s Super Bowl Saturday. 

It feels better to be a Badger fan right now than it has in a long long time. Going into the 2021 season felt kinda like this, but Wisco was 1-3 by week 4. 2019 felt like this, but then Bucky dropped the Illinois game (and got murdered by OSU twice). 

When was the last time Wisconsin had real hope? 2017?

I’m not saying Wisconsin is doing anything special this year, like winning the B1G or beating OSU, but after the Illinois game, there is now hope. Hope can propel a team to play above and beyond their ceiling. Hope can also lead to the lowest of lows if it’s proven to be false. 

Fickell has given me hope; let’s see what he does now. 

Looking Back: 4th Quarter Heroics, Njongmeta’s Statement Game, Opportunity in the West

Wisconsin 25
Illinois 21

Locke 1-0

In his 1st career start, Braedyn Locke brought home a win. It’s only the 4th college football game he’s even been on the field for. 

I hate to knock one guy down to raise another up… but I have 1 Mordecai vs. Locke stat line …

Wisco Wednesday: The Badgers are Down Bad

Mordecai went down. The defense gave up only 13, but the offense couldn’t score. Wisconsin is way behind schedule in Fickell’s year 1. 

Fickell’s first season as HC had 1 very clear and attainable goal. Win the division in the last year of its existence, and build on that success heading into 2024. The Badgers were supposed to win the West, not join the chaos. Turns out that when pundits and fans say the B1G West is bad, that includes Wisconsin. We can make excuses about the one big run Iowa had (the only TD of the game), or how the QB went down. But to put it simply: Wisconsin got owned by a team with the worst offense in America. 

Now they need to put the pieces back together and get ready for a 2 game stretch that could really take the season off the rails and into a bottomless canyon. Too hyperbolic? Fine, but Illinois is in the ultimate look ahead spot. Everyone’s looking at the OSU game in 2 weeks when the team needs to be focused on not letting Bielema beat them for the 2nd year in a row. 

The season can go in 2 very …

Wisco Wednesday: Might the Badgers Actually be Good? 

Still undefeated all time vs. Rutgers. The first team to 15 points wins this week. Mordecai can run now?

The Badgers play the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday. It’s easily the most important game of the season. I know they play Ohio State too, but no one is expecting Fickell to win that game, and that’s okay. The Iowa game matters the most for showing improvement from last year and for how the B1G West is going to shake out. But first, let’s go back and look at some of the keys to the homecoming win over Rutgers. 

Looking Back: Great Defense, Poor Passing, Terrible Snaps.

Rutgers 13
Wisconsin 24

Ricardo Hallman

Give Ricardo his flowers, he had a hell of a game. The 95 yard pick-six couldn’t have come at a better time. It was near the end of the 2nd quarter, and Rutgers still had some life. They drove down the field, were at the 5, and expected to score. That would’ve made it a 3 point game going into halftime. 

Instead, it’s 17-0. All the wind left Rutgers’ sails. Hallman effectively ended the game. 

On top of his INT, Hallman played well for the entire game. He was …

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