Fiammetta: This stage seems familiar, doesn’t it?

Written by : , Category : ysepzoxo , Date : September 16, 2020 , No Comments on Fiammetta: This stage seems familiar, doesn’t it?

first_imgIn a true testament to Wisconsin’s dominance in the Big Ten over the past year and a half, only one conference foe in that span has beaten Bucky and sent him home huffing, shoulders sulking and his famously puffed-out chest deflated.On a lousy, cloudy afternoon last October, with a perfect 4-0 record prompting an unavoidable peek at the possibility of the school’s first BCS bowl berth since 1988, Michigan State welcomed Wisconsin to Spartan Stadium for its conference opener. The Badgers, despite a non-conference slate that saw them barely escape distinctly weaker teams in San Jose State and Arizona State, also believed their shot at postseason glory had finally come around again.So when the Spartans, despite three first-half turnovers, fought their way to a 34-24 win, it seemed as though the Badgers and their lofty hopes had been dashed. Michigan State boldly attempted three fourth-down conversions and was successful twice, seemingly implying that Wisconsin just wasn’t audacious enough to place its stamp on the Big Ten.Of course, the Badgers rebounded and came within two points of a Rose Bowl victory three months later. The Spartans, despite winning six of their next seven games, settled for the Capital One Bowl, where they were trounced 49-7 by Alabama.“I think it was a blessing to have gone [to East Lansing] and experienced what we experienced because this year we’re going to go into another hostile environment, at night time this time; the teams are higher ranked, there’s higher publicity about this and a little more [trash] talking,” Wisconsin center Peter Konz said. “What we faced last year is going to help us to get mentally prepared coming into this game.”This Saturday, 6-0 Wisconsin returns to East Lansing with the No. 6 ranking in the initial BCS standings and a quarterback in Russell Wilson that is the first legitimate contender for the Heisman Trophy that UW has had since Ron Dayne won the award in 1999. Wilson, by way of his 14:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and the nation’s top quarterback rating at 210.9, has led the Badgers to the No. 1 scoring offense (50.2 points per game) in the country.Michigan State, meanwhile, has brashly rebounded from a Sept. 17 31-13 loss at Notre Dame to carry a 5-1 record and the nation’s No. 4 scoring defense (10.8 points allowed per game) into the latest showdown with Wisconsin. Saturday will be the Badgers’ third of four prime-time games on national television this year, and the matchup has already been elevated to Game Of The Week status thanks to ESPN’s decision to air its “College GameDay” pre-game show live from East Lansing.While Michigan State continues to grasp desperately at national attention, Wisconsin has arguably never seen more. The Badgers will be showcased by GameDay for the second time this season after hosting Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler, Desmond Howard, Lee Corso and Erin Andrews Oct. 1 for Nebraska’s inauguration into the Big Ten. The Huskers’ welcome mat ended at the gates of Camp Randall Stadium that night, as the Badgers rolled to a shocking 48-17 win that elevated them even higher in the early national title picture.Wisconsin also thrived under the GameDay spotlight last year when undefeated, No. 1 Ohio State came to town two weeks after the Badgers’ loss to the Spartans. From the opening kickoff – a 97-yard return for a touchdown – they rolled over the Buckeyes in a 31-18 victory that undoubtedly catapulted them toward the Rose Bowl.“[It’s] ridiculous, because before [Ohio State], we hadn’t played for years for GameDay,” Konz said. “You kind of get a sense of that comfort that, OK, there’s going to be a lot of hype, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. It’s kind of old news at this point. You feel comfortable that you’re going to go out and play a very good team and play a very good game yourself without that distraction.”But even with distractions set aside, the grand sum of everything Wisconsin has to play seems overwhelming from an outside perspective. In a state spoiled by the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and the resurgent Milwaukee Brewers, Wisconsin fans are yearning for a Heisman Trophy, a win in the first-ever Big Ten Championship Game and a BCS bowl victory – all at once.Head coach Bret Bielema’s “1-0,” one-game-at-a-time outlook, as corny as it sounds, has percolated through the program, and that seems to have helped temper the pressure levied on the Badgers. Come Saturday, the philosophy will be tested, perhaps more vigorously than ever before. Before Nebraska, a road trip to Michigan State (and Ohio State next week) still loomed as the principal obstacles to a BCS bowl berth. With the Badgers’ record still sparkling, the magnitude of facing the Spartans has ballooned even larger.“I think that’s part of what, for lack of a better term, what we train to do here at Wisconsin,” wide receiver Nick Toon said. “We try to put ourselves in those types of situations in camp and in the offseason while we’re training. It kind of comes as second nature.”Mike is a senior majoring in journalism. What are you expecting from the Badgers Saturday? Let him know on Twitter @mikefiammetta and be sure to follow @BHeraldSports for all the latest Badgers news. ESPN College GameDay will air Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. ET on ESPNU and then switch to ESPN at 10 a.m. ET.last_img

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