Bucky vs. Ducky

This blog about today’s Rose Bowl begins with a followup about how the teams will look today.

Adidas rolled out the Badgers’ uniforms for today with less hoopla than Nike would:

The roses inside the logo and numbers are nice.  The Michelin Man look reminds one that both Badgers losses, as well as the 1963 Rose Bowl loss, came in the “stormtrooper” look. And as I’ve argued in this space, the Badgers’ “brand” is not particularly well designed.

On the other side of the field:

At least it incorporates Oregon’s actual colors, green and yellow/gold. These obviously were not designed by an announcer, given the black numbers on the green jersey.

As for the game, Isthmus’ Jason Joyce sees it as good vs. evil:

Wisconsin enters this year’s game as a six-point underdog to fifth-ranked Oregon, a team that’s easy to root against. The big news out of Oregon this week literally placed style ahead of substance as Nike unveiled the duds (Nike calls it an “integrated uniform system”) the Ducks will wear on Monday. It’s the sartorial equivalent of picking up the kids from soccer in a Lamborghini. The Ducks will look less like a college football team than a futuristic, evil robot army.

To adherents of Wisconsin’s run-first, pro-style, smash-mouth brand of football, Oregon’s frantically paced spread-option attack represents pure evil. The Ducks average over 46 points and 515 yards of offense per game to Wisconsin’s 44 and 466. Their no-huddle approach often finds the Ducks snapping the ball within 10 seconds of the end of the previous play. They’re unlike any team Wisconsin has faced this season.

In addressing how the Badgers can handle Oregon’s high-octane attack, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema points to the Ducks’ recent record in games where they’ve had extended time to prepare: the 2011 season opener against LSU, last season’s BCS title game against Auburn and the 2010 Rose Bowl against Ohio State. All three were losses.

Independent of the over-the-top metaphor, the time between the Big Ten title game and the Rose Bowl certainly gave UW enough time to prepare for Oregon’s insanely fast attack. The problem will not be strategy, but execution thereof. The ideal would be for the Badgers to score every time they have the ball at the end of a 10- to 15-play drive. The ideal also would be to force Oregon to cough up the ball; in the Ducks’ losses to LSU and USC, Oregon totaled five lost fumbles, which is how you lose a game despite having more yardage than your opponent.

UW is faster than most previous Badger teams and most Big Ten teams. Which doesn’t mean they’re fast enough to match up with the Ducks. Just remember that getting to the Rose Bowl and losing is better than not getting to the Rose Bowl. (See UW, 1963–1992.)

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