The Badgers kept Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the 9th straight season. After a questionable start to the 2012 campaign, the 6 new coaches (7 if you count the new O line coach who took over 2 games in) have finally seemed to gel and Bret Bielema’s team is playing more consistent football. After wins over Purdue and most recently Minnesota, Wisconsin (6-2 / 3-1) controls their own fate in heading towards their 2nd straight Big Ten Championship Game (since Ohio State (8-0 / 4-0) and Penn State (5-2 / 3-0) aren’t eligible for post-season play).
Couple that with Bret Bielema’s prior 6 years of 66 wins, 6 bowl appearances, 5 times ranked in the final AP Top 25, 2 Big Ten titles and 2 trips….not wins, I understand that….to the Rose Bowl and you would think that all is well within the walls of Camp Randall.
A friend of mine, who works within the Big Ten, made me aware of some dissension within Badger Nation which led me to believe that there are more than a few supporters that aren’t nearly as happy with Bielema as I originally thought.
Seeking my own independent information, I conducted a poll of sorts (keeping in the spirit of the electorial season) and it seems that my friend / source was right regarding the enthusiasm for the current UW head football coach.
“He’s abrasive and hasn’t been able to win the big game (Rose Bowl). He acts like his s#@* doesn’t stink because he’s Barry’s boy. Put those two facts together and what’s to like”, one large contributor told me.
I never knew that there was such an angst against Bielema. I spoke with numerous others who have supported the UW football program and of those that I spoke with (18 total along with some of their family members), who knew nothing about my purpose for speaking to them, there were only 2 who truly supported and believed in everything that Brett Bielema was doing for the Badgers.
Now, let me be fair in saying that EVERY ONE I spoke with basically started the interview by saying, “Don’t use my name in this but….” and then went on to tell me their complaints and opinions. They all seemed to have their own specific way as to how the program should be run.
One supporter went as far as to tell me, “I have money but I’ll continue to donate the minimum until Bielema’s gone”.
I have to be honest, this blew me away. I thought that continued success, beating your rivals, vying for the top spot in the Big Ten, getting to a post-season bowl and producing NFL prospects was what it’s all about. Oh by the way….no NCAA sanctions either.
At Ohio State, John Cooper was run out of town because the boosters didn’t like him and he couldn’t beat Michigan. Why in the world would you want Bielema out of Wisconsin? Because he has an Iowa tattoo? He attended and played for the Hawkeyes, at the time, I’m sure he never thought about being the head man at Wisconsin. Come on people, unless you have someone dynamically better, you had better appreciate Bielema.
I have to admit openly, I like Bret. I’ve always got along with him and he’s treated me fairly over the years so there is a modicum of bias on my part but seriously, give me a reason what’s not to enjoy about the state of Wisconsin football today.
Demand success and that the program go to “the next level” but don’t tear it down because of a personality clash.