Alvarez says Big Ten ‘not a bunch of slugs’

TAMPA, Fla. — You would think Wisconsin’s back-to-back victories against SEC opponents in bowl games would have caused at least a ripple nationally.

But Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez wonders if anybody remembers the Badgers beating Auburn and Arkansas in the Capital One Bowl.

Alvarez was asked what those two wins did for the Badgers on a national level.

“I don’t think anything, because I don’t think anybody recognizes that,” Alvarez said.

That point was driven home again to Alvarez recently while doing a national interview.

“All I hear about is Ohio State losing to Florida and Michigan getting blown out by Southern Cal,” Alvarez said. “That’s all anyone wants to talk about. They forget (the Big Ten Conference) won two of the three (bowl) games against Southeastern Conference schools last year, but no one recognizes it.

“I did a national interview the other day. They wanted to talk about the same old stuff, the speed of the SEC. I said, ‘We’re not a bunch of slugs here.’ Actually, if you go back and check the record against Southeastern Conference teams, we’ve done pretty well.”

Alvarez is right. Aside from Ohio State’s ghastly 0-8 bowl record against SEC teams, the Big Ten has not fared as poorly as you might guess. In fact, if you want to win a bar bet on New Year’s Day, ask somebody which conference has fared better head-to-head in bowl games in the last five years, the Big Ten or SEC?

Answer: The Big Ten is 8-6.

The bowls where the Big Ten and SEC both have tie-ins are the Capital One and Outback. The Big Ten has won the last three Capital One Bowls and is 3-2 in the last five Outback Bowls.

Still, there was a story on ESPN SportsCenter last week about Ohio State’s problems matching up against the speed of LSU in the Bowl Championship Series title game. As usual, it also was a topic of conversation leading up to Wisconsin’s game against Tennessee today in the Outback Bowl.

“Yeah, a couple guys asked me about that,” Wisconsin junior linebacker Jonathan Casillas said. “It’s not really a thing I pay attention to.

“They can say what they want to say. For us — I’m talking about Wisconsin in general — they said that the last couple years and we beat two very, very good SEC teams in the Capital One Bowl.”

Sacking Ainge: Casillas was asked if it’s possible to sack UT quarterback Erik Ainge.

“Boy, I hope so, for our sake,” Casillas said. “Three (sacks) in 13 games, that’s crazy. Hopefully, we get to him.”

Even if the Badgers can’t sack Ainge, they hope to pressure him. Casillas noted Ainge backpedals a lot and is quick to throw the ball away. “I think he’ll sacrifice incompletions for sacks,” Casillas said.

Mostly, the Badgers need to make Ainge uncomfortable and prevent him from getting any rhythm, or it could be a long game.

“It may not be sacks,” defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz said. “But if it’s forcing incompletions, if it’s knocking a ball down, or making him throw it before he wants to, it all adds up. We have to be able to make him less effective if we’re going to win the game.”

When Ainge gets on a roll, he can be tough to stop.

That’s a big concern since the Badgers go into the game without two of their top cornerbacks, junior Allen Langford and freshman Aaron Henry, who are out with knee injuries.

“When (Ainge) is hot, he’s hot,” secondary coach Kerry Cooks said. “That’s the thing that scares you. We just have to make sure we do a good job of not showing him the same look every time we line up, obviously mixing up our calls and packages.”

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Comments » 19

clausenforheisman writes:

I saw that too, I think they gave it to him for not getting tarred and feathered and resigning gracefully. I had the tv turned down too low to hear it. I was busy signing up for a free breakfast from Chik f la.

gohawks1 writes:

Say it isn't so.... COTY going to a guy who was removed from office? Seriously now, that ain't right.

Cherokee writes:

Note to Barry Alvarez: Nobody said the Big Ten was a bunch of slugs. The SEC overall has faster athletes. But it is also clear that EVERY SEC team is not necessarily faster than EVERY Big Ten team, and also that having the faster team doesn't always translate into a win. Barry sounds like the little kid begging for his older brothers to look at him.

james#216392 writes:

Wisc will find out that you can't sack someone who throws the ball away if anyone gets close. I am not sure if this was good offensive line play, good QB play or just a QB that is afraid of a little contact. I coach Basketball and know little about football, but it seemed to me our QB gets rid of the ball way too early on some plays. Maybe not. Good Luck Vols.

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

Lloyd Carr is unbelievable. I can go with Croom though. He doesn't have much and has mananged to make Miss State a threat to beat many SEC teams.

imnotwithphil writes:

Who cares?

The Capital One (formerly Citrus) and Outhouse bowls are booby prizes for the SEC elite. Remember Spurrier's immortal words, "You can't spell Citrus Bowl without UT."

These bowls just mean more for little 10 programs... their fans get to spend some time in Florida, away from their frozen wasteland of a state... their teams get an opportunity to play well in a state loaded with potential recruits... and for the Wizzconsins of the world, playing Tennessee, Auburn, Georga, etc. is a big deal... as these are all "national" football powerhouses. When's the last time Wizzconsin won a national championship? I mean, I remember that a Roosevelt was in office... just can't remember if it was Teddy or Franklin...

Tell ya what Barry... take a look at the SEC elite's head to head matchups with the little 10, then order a pizza and SHUT UP. The reason people cite OSU and female dogagan's bowl records is that those are the games that COUNT.

BTW Barry... how is the little 10 doing this bowl season...? Well... Purdon't (barely) beat Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl... and PSU beat the mighty Aggies playing with an interim head coach.... how proud the conference must be right now!

OldNumber7 writes:

imnotwithphil, igotyourpoint and thinkyouhitthenailonthehead.

There's a reason Big-11's number-3 plays SEC's number-4. Because with SEC number-4 feeling like it's a consolation game, and Big-11 number-3 treating it like it's their biggest game in history - it's about even.

CrankE writes:

An interesting piece that for my money explains it all for the offense this season.

Let the second guessing begin!

T0MMYJACK writes:

imnotwithphil: will all the free time he has today maybe Spurrier can come up with another witty saying.

And why36knot: you left out one reason bowl games are great. More chances to see these players, especially Tebow, in those uniforms that make them look so big and MEAN. I love it!!

TommyJack writes:

See poser above...not ole TommyJack

Badger writes:

I hear that ya all invented the toothbrush in Tennessee. If ya hadn't, it would have been called the teethbrush.

gohawks1 writes:

Go Vols! Beat the slugs!

Badger writes:

Remember this Vol fans: Brains beat speed!

oldbasshead writes:

I couldn't believe that Cutcliff did not use one of his 3 timeouts at the end of the first half to save time on the clock (:48 sec) and try to get something on the board to reclaim the momentum from Wisconsin. My first thought was, is he trying to just get this game over so he can concentrate on Duke recruting? Taylor doesn't look very energized either. The players are playing for themselves it looks like.

oldbasshead writes:

It looks like when we blitz, our secondary has difficult time covering. Looks like if we don't get Donovan before he throws, it is an automatic completion. Wilson should have picked offensive end up on Badgers last touchdown, but I guess lack of playing time hurts reaction time. This whole academic ineligibility thing shouldn't have happened and I put that on the players. However, good things can and usually do happen when players and coaches have to step up.

Titan writes:

Hey Badger - ask your losing team if their brains know the formula E=mc(squared)? If they do, they know that speed is more important than mass. Better yet - ask your QB. Better yet - ask your whiny coach complaining about helmet to helmet hits he complained about that didn't happen - must have been too fast for him to see.

imnotwithphil writes:

Barry's right... Wizzzzzconsin aren't a bunch of slugs... I've seen slugs with more zip in my garden... And at least if you hit a slug... it doesn't whine to the ref... more than we can say for the Wusses from Wizzconsin.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

errrr.. Alverez- youse guys in Wisconsinky are slugs. Our d-line could outrun almost anybody you put out there today. Remember, strength just punishes, SPEED KILLS!

Volunatic writes:

Where did you go? You disappeared right around game time, and I was wanting to ask you what happens when brains and speed go up against, well, the Badgers.

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