Monday, October 02, 2006

Where do we stand?

We're five games into the season and we stand at a respectable 4-1 - which is where everyone except maybe the players themselves thought we'd be. The Michigan loss was expected.

Now we move into the end of the schedule, playing 5 of the last 7 games at Camp Randall, where we've lost just one game since 2004. The rest of the schedule is by no means a cakewalk, but this team is looking a heck of a lot better than many thought they would.

The passing game has made progress, with Stocco having collected a nice cadre of 8 or so receivers. Considering the entire core of receivers had a combined total of 3 catches, this is a significant acheivement. Paul Hubbard is proving he can be reliable.

P.J. Hill has been the one to step into the "token" UW RB role. You knew we'd have one. We always seem to come upon one, despite the dire circumstances coming into the season. Dywon Rowan is a capable #2 back and true freshman Lance Smith has had baptism by fire and seems to be surviving rather than floundering.

The Special Teams has it's ups and downs, with Zach Hampton proving a bright spot.

The Defense took a few games to get into rhythm, but they finally seem to be living up to their hype. When you're the largest line in D1, you've got to walk to the walk. It took some weeks, but it appears that Joe Thomas and the boys have gotten their act together. They proved they can handle run defense against Michigan. Despite some stumbles, they've shown they aren't going to give up and tremendous overall effort.

Few teams are going to provide the opportunity for offensive fireworks like Indiana did, but teams like Northwestern and Purdue should not provide too big of a stumbling block for this team.

Young team and young staff taken into consideration, this season isn't shaping up so bad. Ideally, this could be a one loss season - It'll depend on whether or not we can stay with Iowa. (And Penn State's not a game we can look past either)

I'm not sure why exactly, but I've been looking at this season as a bit of a throw-away. Whatever happens, happens - don't expect too much. But clearly this could turn out to be another season for the books. With our cupcake schedule, I'm not looking for any kind of BCS or poll cred, but any season that's 1,2 or 3 losses is nothing to sneeze at.