Monday, August 21, 2006

In Limbo

I continue to be buffetted by the harsh mistress that is gainful employment, and as such I haven't had much time for updates. So I figured I'd give you some short takes on the major topics of the day, with an eye toward justifying my picks for the BlogPoll rankings tomorrow and getting this train right back up on the track on Saturday.

  • John Stocco is hurt, but improving every day. The way I see it, as long as Stocco is healthy for the San Diego State game, the Badgers will be fine. If Omar Jacobs hadn't left Bowling Green for the NFL's, er, greener pastures, I'd be panicking right now. However, I don't expect BGSU to pose much of a challenge to the Badgers, and Donovan or Sherer should be perfectly capable of piloting the team through that game and the next. Actually, scratch that; Coach Bielema could start Joe Thomas at quarterback for the Western Illinois game and the Badgers would still win by three or four dozen points. Incidentally, the only reason I feel that Stocco has to come back for the SDSU game (BGSU? SDSU? That's weird, especially when one considers that Bowling Green and San Diego are not actual states) is because it would be nice to have him on the field against some DI-A competition before he has to run the gauntlet in Ann Arbor. Bottom line: Sorgi got through this, and Stocco's better than Sorgi was. He picked a good time to get injured.
  • An injury that could severely wound the Badgers, though, is the one that fullback Chris Pressley suffered at this morning's practice. Looks like he's done for the year. Although backup Bill Rentmeester is certainly capable of fulfilling the role of starting fullback effectively, Pressley figured to be a standout at the position. Bielema was down on his work ethic, sure, but losing the guy who can squat an absolutely freakish 770 pounds is bad news, regardless of the coach's enthusiasm.
  • Hey, we picked up a quarterback. He seems to have had a good year at Kansas State and appears to have left because the offense they're installing there didn't fit his style of play, so those are two positives. Plus he chose UW over TCU and Oregon State, and while that would seem to be a no-brainer, it does show some intelligence. So, welcome aboard, Allan Evridge.
  • A lot of freshmen are expected to jump right in and play this year. Don't freak out. Every year, freshmen step up and make huge contributions. It's up to the coaching staff to identify the guys who will be four-year starters for the Badgers. One of them figures to be Xavier Harris, upon whom the Wisconsin State Journal has already embarrassingly dropped the "X Factor" moniker. (The article, though, is actually quite good, and includes the always-amusing anecdote about the young Southern kid who comes to Madison for a recruiting visit and winds up seeing snow for the first time in his life. So read it!)
  • Fox Sports just got a little more jowly: Barry Alvarez is going to serve as a color commentator. Just remember, Barry: first and foremost, you're AD at UW.
  • The running back situation appears to be emerging; power back P.J. Hill first, fifth-year senior Dywon Rowan second. Expect this to be an extremely fluid situation until one guy climbs to the top of the pile midway through the season. The possibility of Rowan taking over at FB at times further complicates matters. BONUS: the Hill article contains the dreaded "very unique" construction, which, in the Badger Tracker's universe, would carry a mandatory death sentence for first-time offenders.
  • Finally, the Princeton Review shoots itself in the foot, naming Texas the nation's #1 party school. Somehow, UW fell behind Penn State and West Virginia. WVU I can see, since they started a lot of stuff on fire last year, and Texas sure has had a lot of reasons to party in the past year (who wouldn't want their athletic programs right now?) But Penn State? Note to the Princeton Review: that's not drunkenness; it's insanity. Seriously. Check it out.