Football players are human beings.
They rise and fall. They succeed and fail. The wear their emotions on their sleeves, they make bad decisions … it’s what makes the nature of the game suspenseful, inspiring and intriguing.
The story lines for this Saturday’s match-up in Madison, between the home Badgers and visiting BYU Cougars, are plenty.
For Wisconsin it’s their first home game in 28-days. For BYU it’s the toughest game on their Independent schedule in their third full season of being affiliated with no major FBS conference.
Many analysts say this is Wisconsin’s most intimidating and feasible opportunity to slip in their quest for a BCS Bowl bid. For BYU its a way to validate their recent five-game win streak that’s seen them down the likes of Houston, Georgia Tech, Middle Tennessee State, Utah State and a convincing win last week over perennial offensive powerhouse, Boise State.
UW coach Gary Andersen sees this game differently than many of his players do. And while he might not show it this week in practice, or come right out and say it, he’s human. For Anderson it’s a chance to validate what he had set out to accomplish here in the Midwest – win at home and create a strong tradition.
“Having BYU on the schedule was probably one of the most shocking things that I looked at when I took this job,” Andersen said.“I’ve had many great victories and many tough defeats … our goal when we went to Utah State was to try to find a way to create a rivalry game again against BYU which had not been there forever. We were able to be fortunate enough to win a game against them … and created a rivalry again.”
It would be hard for ANY human being to forget a rivalry – especially after being the one who’s sole purpose was to create one.
Andersen has gone 6-5 as an assistant against BYU. He was 1-3 all-time as the head coach at Utah State, his only win coming back in 2010 in a game held at Utah State, in Logan.
Wisconsin has a pretty solid reputation of it’s own when looking into the match-up versus anyone coming to Camp Randall in November. Overall, the team is 20-5 in the month since the start of the 2006 season including an unblemished 3-0 mark against non-conference teams.
Their 28-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents in second in all of college football to only LSU (40). And although this will be the first time since 1980 the two teams have met, it will be the 10th consecutive season Andersen has seen the Cougars, something it might be hard to forget come game time, Saturday.
If Wisconsin wants to come out of Saturday’s game with a win, and if Andersen hopes to continue his young success at home, check the baggage at the door and take care of business, should be the message.
Fast Facts (courtesy of Wisconsin Football)
RECORDS: Wisconsin 6-2 (4-1 Big Ten) vs BYU 6-2
* With Gordon (11) and White (10), the Badgers are also one of just two FBS AQ conference teams with multiple players that have scored double-digit offensive touchdowns. Arizona is the other, with QB B.J. Denker (11) and RB Ka’Deem Carey (10).
* Dating back to the Badgers’ 37-26 win over UTEP (Sept. 22, 2012) each of Wisconsin’s last 12 victories have come by a double-digit margin. The last time UW won a game by single digits was a 16-14 triumph over Gary Andersen’s Utah State team on Sept. 15, 2012.
* BYU’s 2013 schedule may be the toughest in program history. The 12-game schedule with six road games and six home games includes fellow independent Notre Dame and teams from eight different conferences, including the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, American Athletic, Conference USA, Mountain West and Big Sky.
* UW has allowed just one touchdown at Camp Randall this season, matching the Nation’s top-ranked team (Alabama) for the fewest allowed by a FBS team at home this season. The Badgers 4.0 point per game allowed at home ranks second in the nation, behind only Alabama (3.8).