Wisconsin Badgers Do Not Have Quarterback Controversy


The anti-Joel Stave crowd was out in full force when redshirt junior Bart Houston entered the game and led the Wisconsin Badgers to a 24-13 victory over Illinois on Saturday.

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Stave exited with a head injury in the first quarter, and Houston stepped in and delivered with a pretty decent game running the Badgers’ offense.

In his first meaningful game action that did not require rugby-style punting, Houston finished 22 of 33 for 232 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions to lead Wisconsin to its third consecutive victory.

Houston proved to be a quality backup in Stave’s place, but that is all he is for now. Earlier this week, the Badger of Honor published an article stating that there is a quarterback controversy. The Big Lead also recently put out a story that Houston should overtake Stave. However, a healthy Stave will continue to start under center for the Badgers without a discussion.

If the argument is that Wisconsin needs to look to the future, why would the Badgers be looking to next season at this point of the season? With two losses, a College Football Playoff spot is out of the question, but Wisconsin is still very much alive in the Big Ten West, just a half game behind the Iowa Hawkeyes. Is a spot in the Big Ten Championship game really not enough to play for?

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  • If that is the case, should Wisconsin shut down all of its seniors because they are not going to be a member of the Badgers’ roster next season? The quarterback position is the most important in sports, but it should not matter in this case. The idea of sitting down Stave for the simple fact that Houston has one more year of eligibility remaining does not make any sense.

    Let us not forget the two bad interceptions that Houston threw during Saturday’s game, both of which occurred in the end zone. If Stave did such a thing, some fans would be calling for anybody with an arm in the Madison area to replace him. When Houston does the same thing, it is not a big deal because he is a backup, which he is, and will continue to be.

    Houston will get his opportunity after this season. With Stave out of the picture, it will likely be a three-man race between Houston, redshirt freshman D.J. Gillins and Alex Hornibrook, who is redshirting this season.

    In regards to the decision that will need to be made for the quarterback position in 2016, Houston entering his final season of eligibility should not be considered. Paul Chryst and his coaching staff will look to put the players who give the Badgers the best chance to win on the field that season.

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    Former head coach Gary Andersen had the opposite approach. He took the lumps in the short term if it could potentially help in the long term. The majority of Wisconsin football beat writers that attended fall camp were shocked when Andersen announced Tanner McEvoy as last year’s opening day starter at quarterback. In an attempt to transition the traditional ground-and-pound Badgers, Andersen wanted a mobile quarterback, which suited McEvoy much more than Stave, and the decision backfired as Stave returned to the starting lineup by Week 6.

    If coaches obsess over the future, they would never focus on what they have in front of them, and the Badgers have a lot to play for with four conference games remaining.

    Next: Injuries Mounting For Badgers

    Remember, this was just one game. Maybe Houston is not ready to be a starter just like McEvoy last season. Houston could be the man next year, but a healthy Stave will be Wisconsin’s starter for the remainder of the 2015 season because he gives the Badgers the best chance to win now.