Torrin tackles the Badgers

Torrin Thatcher

As a Badger fan, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. And I’ll just keep looking.
I had to work Saturday night until 9 p.m., and I was planning on catching the last half of the Badger game while enjoying a few refreshments in my Bucky koozie. But, as we saw, I didn’t enjoy those refreshments as much as I would have liked. The Badgers got embarrassed by the Nittany Lions and now fall to 12-20 against them, the Wolverines and the Buckeyes.
Tommy Bowden just got canned by Clemson after beginning the year an unimpressive 3-3, with losses coming to no. 1 Alabama, no. 19 Wake Forest and unranked Maryland. The losses to Wake and Maryland were by a total of eight points, so it’s not like they are getting blown out of the water, but it was cause for concern.
This is what I don’t agree with about this firing: They started the year no. 9 in the country with high hopes and barely lost two of their three games.
Let’s just pretend that Clemson scored one more touchdown each game they lost, and they’d be 5-1 overall and on top of the ACC.
In that case, people would not have been calling for Bowden’s firing, and all would be the same as they prepare for Georgia Tech. But, as we know, it’s all about wins and losses, and Bowden’s players weren’t performing the way they should. Clemson’s running backs, James Davis and C.J. Spiller, are supposed to be this amazing backfield combination, but they’ve combined for 714 yards and 10 scores in six games. Not being able to control the ball can result in losses by three and five points.
An interesting side to this is that Bowden signed an extension last fall worth $2.2 million per year for four years, and he’s been to a bowl every year except in 2004, when a bowl bid was declined by way of a self-imposed punishment for a fracas with South Carolina.
This firing just shows how important it is to produce victories, as Bret Bielema’s contract is for $7.5 million for five years and the Badgers are 3-3. If they continue to scuffle with what are now becoming Bielema’s recruits, not Sir Barry’s, I wouldn’t be surprised if people start to question his coaching ability.
We can make the same case here for Bielema as we did Bowden. Wisconsin is in the same boat as Clemson; besides the beating by Penn State, two losses were by a total of five points. If they had made one more field goal each game, they’d be 5-1 and still ranked. But because the Badgers were unable to close out the Buckeyes and Wolverines, they are burrowing into a deep hole and are feverishly trying to dig their way out before it’s too late.
Elsewhere, the NBA showed last week that they’re fighting for attention when baseball, football and hockey are all going on. The Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets played an outdoor game just outside of Palm Springs, Calif., much like how the NHL and NCAA have done with hockey.
I still agree with Tony Kornheiser in that many people don’t care about the NBA until the last month when playoff spots are up for grabs, because that’s when it seems teams start to play some defense and pass the ball around.
What was the best thing about the outdoor game, you ask? Besides Alando Tucker seeing the court, it was that Mateen Cleaves — yes, Mateen Cleaves — scored in double figures. After knocking the Badgers out of the Final Four and being the 14th pick in 2000, I can’t help but get a little chuckle when he actually plays in his very, very disappointing career. I’m sure Tom Izzo will need some type of bench coach eventually in East Lansing; he’ll definitely hold that clipboard with pride.