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Game 2—@Wisconsin Badgers

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This is something I have been thinking for the last month or so when I did a little research on the OOC opponents for this year. And since there is now some talk about that game on the Bryce Dixon thread, figure I'd start its own discussion thread.

 

It was mentioned that it wouldn't be a surprise if Akron beats them this year. I actually tend to agree with that. Not saying it will happen, but there are some things about that game that makes me believe the upset could happen.

 

1. As was mentioned, Wisconsin is breaking in a new QB and neither of the guys in competition have any meaningful playing experience. While Joel Stave wasn't a great QB by any means, I believe I read he was the winningest QB in the program's history. Maybe the guys they have now are more talented, but I doubt either will be as good right away as Stave was last year.

 

2. Wisconsin plays a mega game against LSU at Lambeau Field the week before the Akron game. The fact that it's against an elite SEC team and at the hallowed grounds of Lambeau could make that the most hyped and emotional game in Wisconsin history. While I don't think Chryst will take the Zips lightly, I do see the possibility for an emotional let down, regardless of how that LSU game turns out.

 

3. Wisconsin is one of the few true smash-mouth running teams left in college football. While it's unknown if the Zips will be as good against the run as they had been the last couple of years, I'm still pretty confident (depending on how the young, but pretty talented linebackers fare) that this will still be a solid defense against the run. There is no way that Akron can totally shut down the Wisconsin running game (the Badgers have their usual strong offensive line and get stud running back Corey Clement back after missing most of last year), if they can hold the Badgers to less than 200 yards on the ground, I think they can stay in the game. 200 is a big number for most teams, but Wisconsin is going to run the ball 40-plus times, and historically a team that could put up 400-yard games on the ground against teams. Clement will probably pop a couple of big gainers, but if they can consistently hold him (and the other backs) to three, even four yards a carry and put the Badgers in a lot of third and 3s and longer, that could put some pressure on whoever the QB is (haven't checked lately to see if they named one) to making some plays with his arm.

 

4. The Badgers lost their elite defensive coordinator Dave Arnada to LSU. They were the top ranked defense in the nation last year, IIR. That's a blow in itself. On top of that, they lost quite a bit in the back seven. If Woodson can build off of last season, with the weapons he will have on the outside this season, I think the Zips could do some damage in the passing game.

 

Overall, while Wisconsin is easily the most talented of the OOC teams, just based on how the Zips match up, it wouldn't shock me to see the Zips win this game ... and then go on and lose to both Marshall and Appalachian State. Nor would it shock me to see the Zips lose to Wisconsin and then beat both Marshall and Appalachian State. I guess what I'm getting at is that all three of those games, IMO, are "toss-ups" (for lack of a better word).

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I agree that this is definitely a winnable game, though it will obviously be tough. Another thing to note is that we have VMI in week 1. We should be able to keep things pretty vanilla and then catch them off guard with some stuff that they don't have tape on.

 

An argument could be made that Chryst won't take us lightly, but I think you can make an argument that he might. After losing to Youngstown State in 2012, you would figure he wouldn't take anyone lightly. But sure enough he let Akron beat him just 2 years later.

Edited by LZIp
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16 minutes ago, LZIp said:

I agree that this is definitely a winnable game, though it will obviously be tough. Another thing to note is that we have VMI in week 1. We should be able to keep things pretty vanilla and then catch them off guard with some stuff that they don't have tape on.

 

An argument could be made that Chryst won't take us lightly, but I think you can make an argument that he might. After losing to Youngstown State in 2012, you would figure he wouldn't take anyone lightly. But sure enough he let Akron beat him just 2 years later.

 

Good point on Chryst at Pittsburgh. One more thing I'll add on that, is that 2014 Pittsburgh team (while probably a little less talented than Wisconsin overall) did have some legit weapons on offense in James Connor and Tyler Boyd. What allowed the Zips to win that game was shutting down the run game and the mediocre QB play from Pitt's Chad Voytik. Both Wisconsin's QBs are just as green as Voytik was in that game. ... Clement, IMO, is more explosive than Connor, but both are/were very, very good RBs.

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What allowed the Zips to beat Pitt was absolutely awful game plan and play calling by Chryst & Co.

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27 minutes ago, K92 said:

What allowed the Zips to beat Pitt was absolutely awful game plan and play calling by Chryst & Co.

And they were really bad that year.

 

I agree this is winnable, but I also don't see Bowden gambling away players like Marcus, if they are on the bubble for an OOC game. Winning the MAC is clearly the priority. Coming out of a Madison would be a great win for the program, and he will come with the team ready to win, but he won't mortgage the farm to make it happen.

 

All that being said, I see it as equally winnable as Pitt was.

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I agree the game's competitiveness rides on how Bowden approaches it.

 

I've seen Bowden teams go full-bore conservative and simply try to get out of the game with a slightly embarrassing score and a healthy team (Oklahoma...Marshall...etc). I've seen him go balls-out and almost beat Michigan.

 

I hope the days of us simply trying to run clock and get out of a game in good health are over. We have an offense that should be able to post big numbers on just about anyone. And our defense should be stout enough to bail the offense out if we have a couple consecutive 3-and-out drives.

 

Wisconsin was almost upset before...

 

Actually...they were upset before....

 

I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention the Zips near miss in Camp Randall, when Hendry got stuffed on a 4th and 1 in the 4th quarter that would have given the Zips the lead. On the next play Lee Evans burnt Jesse Smith for a 99 yard TD and the dream died.

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10 hours ago, zipsoutsider said:

Winning the MAC is clearly the priority. Coming out of a Madison would be a great win for the program, and he will come with the team ready to win, but he won't mortgage the farm to make it happen.

 

Have they added an Automatic Bid to the National Championship tournament or something?  Like Basketball? 

 

I think everyone wants to win the MAC.  But MAC titles in football don't have the same benefits that follow basketball.  Plenty of teams go to Bowl games, and honestly, there isn't much of a difference between them.  It's not a winner-take-all situation for the title holder, which lays so much emphasis on being the MAC king in basketball.  

 

On the other hand, this could be THE BIGGEST win in program history if we knocked off a Big 10 team on the road.  Many benefits could follow, including recruiting.  

 

Sorry.  I wouldn't be happy if I found out that the strategy is to stay healthy so we're ready to beat Ken+ 3 weeks later, and keep our MAC title hopes moving in the right direction. That would make no sense.  We have to try to win a big game like this, whenever possible.  

 

 

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Chryst coached Pitt to a loss against UA. He is the most milquetoast coach in football. They'll have a good line and running game, but beating them isn't out of the question.

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1 hour ago, skip-zip said:

 

Have they added an Automatic Bid to the National Championship tournament or something?  Like Basketball? 

 

I think everyone wants to win the MAC.  But MAC titles in football don't have the same benefits that follow basketball.  Plenty of teams go to Bowl games, and honestly, there isn't much of a difference between them.  It's not a winner-take-all situation for the title holder, which lays so much emphasis on being the MAC king in basketball.  

 

On the other hand, this could be THE BIGGEST win in program history if we knocked off a Big 10 team on the road.  Many benefits could follow, including recruiting.  

 

Sorry.  I wouldn't be happy if I found out that the strategy is to stay healthy so we're ready to beat Ken+ 3 weeks later, and keep our MAC title hopes moving in the right direction. That would make no sense.  We have to try to win a big game like this, whenever possible.  

 

 

What you describe is the difference between someone who increases wealth, over time, investing, versus someone ho goes to Vegas to get rich.

I am not implying the Zips won't try to win this game. Like I said, the end goal is to win the MAC. Win Wisconson and go on to have a mediocre season, the win is lost in the mediocrity. Lose Wisconsin, win the MAC, it is remembered as a stellar season. Win both, we have arrived. PI am not sure we are there, yet.

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14 minutes ago, ZippyRulz said:

We should have layed off at Michigan....we might have won the MAC that year :D

 

I never said or implied Bowden would lay off - he might not play an injured player on the bubble of being ready. It's not like I am suggesting something revolutionary, here, folks.

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10 hours ago, zipsoutsider said:

Win Wisconson and go on to have a mediocre season, the win is lost in the mediocrity. Lose Wisconsin, win the MAC, it is remembered as a stellar season. Win both, we have arrived.

 

And lose to Wisconsin AND lose the MAC title, and we'll all wish we had taken more gambles to try to get a landmark nationally-recognized win in September, rather than trying to save ourselves for a title chase in a low level conference that never happened.  

 

You go to Wisconsin trying to do everything possible to score a win that can catapult our program for years.  

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9 minutes ago, skip-zip said:

 

And lose to Wisconsin AND lose the MAC title, and we'll all wish we had taken more gambles to try to get a landmark nationally-recognized win in September, rather than trying to save ourselves for a title chase in a low level conference that never happened.  

 

You go to Wisconsin trying to do everything possible to score a win that can catapult our program for years.  

 

Have fun in Vegas!

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You are either healthy enough to play or your aren't. Unless the opponent is a VMI or the like, it shouldn't matter who you are playing. 

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40 minutes ago, Zipgrad01 said:

You are either healthy enough to play or your aren't. Unless the opponent is a VMI or the like, it shouldn't matter who you are playing. 

That is just plain foolishness and it sound like that is not the approach we are taking with Marcus vs. VMI.

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25 minutes ago, zipsoutsider said:

That is just plain foolishness and it sound like that is not the approach we are taking with Marcus vs. VMI.

No, ZG01 is absolutely right.  Either you are healthy enough to play or not.  The only caveat is if you are playing a team where you are 100% confident you can win without a couple of questionable health guys.  Holding out a 75% percent Marcus for VMI is ok.  His absence will not cost us that game.  Holding out a 75% Marcus for Wisconsin would be baloney.  He could make a play that wins Akron the game.

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24 minutes ago, zipsoutsider said:

If that were the case, college and NFL teams would not be making game time decisions. It's not black or white.

You can't make a black or white decision at game time?  The team doctor says yay or nay.  The player says yay or nay.  The coach says yay or nay.  If any of these black and white decisions are clouded by any of these 3 people by the "saving the player for next week's game" mentality, I don't buy into that mindset.

 

For example, if there was a player that was cleared by the doc to play, the team needed him, and the coaching staff wanted him to play but his dad advised him to sit out because it might affect his pro career.  I wouldn't support that.

 

Nor would I support saving a guy for the rest of the season and not play him at Wisconsin.  To be clear, I don't think anyone here is faulting anyone for holding Marcus out for VMI because if the truth be told, they could find a set of pads and helmet for me to wear and I will go out and spell Marcus and the Zips are still going to win that game.  The same can not be said for any of the other games on the schedule.

Edited by K92

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13 minutes ago, zipsoutsider said:

Well, I am glad TB and his staff mane those calls and not you guys. :wave:

Shocker.

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3 hours ago, K92 said:

You can't make a black or white decision at game time?  The team doctor says yay or nay.  The player says yay or nay.  The coach says yay or nay.  If any of these black and white decisions are clouded by any of these 3 people by the "saving the player for next week's game" mentality, I don't buy into that mindset.

 

For example, if there was a player that was cleared by the doc to play, the team needed him, and the coaching staff wanted him to play but his dad advised him to sit out because it might affect his pro career.  I wouldn't support that.

 

Nor would I support saving a guy for the rest of the season and not play him at Wisconsin.  To be clear, I don't think anyone here is faulting anyone for holding Marcus out for VMI because if the truth be told, they could find a set of pads and helmet for me to wear and I will go out and spell Marcus and the Zips are still going to win that game.  The same can not be said for any of the other games on the schedule.

 

Yes, and the whole point of sitting out vs. VMI is to be 100% for Wisconsin. But for all anyone knows, he could be feeling great the Wednesday practice before VMI and end up playing (and not be rusty for Wisconsin).

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6 hours ago, K92 said:

Holding out a 75% percent Marcus for VMI is ok.  His absence will not cost us that game.  Holding out a 75% Marcus for Wisconsin would be baloney.  He could make a play that wins Akron the game.

 

Bingo.  

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