(photo courtesy AP)
I don't know about you, but for myself the past two Rose Bowl seasons have been amazing journeys full of ups and downs, what could've beens and all that comes with it. But, this one, this 3rd one in a row, well it just smells and tastes that much sweeter. No doubt the Badgers had to overcome certain things in 2010 and 2011 to get to the championship game, but as I wake up on Sunday morning the smile hasn't left my face yet. That's because this team proves that with hard work, belief, and above all else sticktoitiveness you can achieve any goal you set.
There's only one thing that's been running through my mind since halftime of this game really and it's this:
.... more after the jump ....
Yes, we here at MTB attempt our level best to put on our objective hats from time to time and it serves to level us off no doubt, but at our core we are all Badger fans - otherwise what are you doing reading this and what am I doing writing this? Having said that it's about giving you honest reporting and honest opinions and not being afraid to not mince words, no matter where the lead in the end - good, bad, or ugly.
Having said that, this Rose Bowl birth - the Badgers 3rd in as many years, has me the most proud I've been to be a Badgers fan in quite some time. Why? It's because this team shocked the world of college football and did so with a team that no one thought was good enough to get it done. Well than and we've now joined the vaunted club of Michigan and Ohio State in terms of consecutive Rose Bowl births and that's got to tick off a few or a lot of that duo.
We aren't alone in the thought that this one means a bit more as Bret Bielema and Co. admitted as much following their win.
"Yeah, for sure, with all the adversity we've faced this season, it's a culmination of what we've been through," said running back James White. "It's great to win the Big Ten and get another shot at the Rose Bowl."
"To have three Big Ten Championships says it all, said head coach Bret Bielema. "It makes this one very special."
As I sit here writing this I still have visions of Montee Ball's crazy stiff arm, James White rushing for yet another TD and Marcus Cromartie picking off Taylor Martinez running through my head from last nights game and I don't think those are memories that are going to subside anytime soon.
Last night just simply proved that this season is truly about resiliency for Wisconsin and to their credit at the end of the Big Ten season they managed to overcome all that's happened and make it to that coveted spot in the Rose Bowl. Now, it's about finishing off that goal and winning the damn thing! (don't worry we'll be exploring that a plenty in the next month or so)
As Nate put it on Friday, you can say the Badgers shouldn't have been in Indianapolis, but the fact of the matter is they got there doing what they needed to do to give themselves a shot. On Saturday they took that shot and ran all over the Huskers with it.
The topic of "deserving" to be in Indy was taken on directly by team captain Chris Borland and it's safe to say he didn't mince words.
"We were very candid about that," said Borland about using those thoughts as motivation. "Our five losses, as far as being third in our division, it's important to play by the rules off the field too. We ran a clean program and I'm proud of that too. We took it as motivation. We're better than a five loss team, and today we showed it."
When it comes down to it in the end it's very simple really, the Badgers overcame three starting quarterbacks, an offensive line mess, a ton of major injuries and three overtime losses, yet made it to the pinnacle of Big Ten football. It's something that just a few short days ago hardly anyone believed was possible. If nothing else this win shows fans and neutrals alike that it's not about the outside world, it's about what's inside that matters.
On Saturday they were the better team from the get go and in the end they were the most dominate team in the history of college football championship games to boot. Perhaps now a few more people from the outside world will start believing in this team now? If not, no big deal it'll just be up to the Badgers to keep moving along the same path and become the longest of long shot odds to take the Rose Bowl to.
Who's up for meeting in Pasadena?