2012 was the last time Wisconsin won the Big Ten Championship.
The 1999 season – technically on New Year’s Day 2000 – was the last time it won the Rose Bowl.
It’s still the best Power Five program win-wise since the start of the College Football Playoff era to not make the CFP.
Wisconsin is stuck in a bit of a rut. It’s a good rut – if there can be such a thing – but it’s stuck nonetheless.
Certainly being among the very, very good has been nice – anyone who graduated from Wisconsin before 1994 will impolitely sneer at anyone who complains in any way about the last few decades of Badger sports – but it’s been tough to come up with the magic to break back through.
So what’s missing? Besides a relatively light schedule in a Big Ten that wasn’t nearly as strong as it is now and no conference championship game to deal with – sorry, saying the quiet part out loud – what does Wisconsin need to party like it’s 1999, and 1998, and 1993 again?
The pieces to do this are already there.
Great defense? Check – even if it’s not quite as strong as last year’s version.
Control the clock and own the tempo? Check.
A consistent passing game that moves the chains? Ehhhhhh, it should be fine if QB Graham Mertz can make a jump in his third year. Most importantly …
A blasting running game? It’s what Wisconsin does, and it should be able to do that again with a great group of running backs and an even more consistent line.
This isn’t hard. The Badgers averaged under 3.4 yards per carry just four times – loss to Penn State, loss to Notre Dame, loss to Michigan, loss to Minnesota. There will be some tweaks, but run the ball, do it very well, win, move on.
How do you get out of a rut? You power through.
Wisconsin Badgers Preview
Head Coach: Paul Chryst, 65-23, 8th year at Wisconsin
11th year overall, 84-42, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 9-4, Conference: 6-3
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