We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Wisconsin sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, hockey or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.
Today is Thursday, Nov. 3, and this is your Wisconsin Wake-Up Call.
Friday night lights
The Big Ten is coming to Friday nights starting in 2017, and the reaction to the news varied.
— Tom Oates (@TomOatesWSJ) November 2, 2016
It's so bizarre to see Big Ten people freaking out about Friday night games. Others have been doing it for 15 years. Nothing bad happens.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 2, 2016
For years B1G officials took high road and avoided overshadowing HS games. But $$$$$ talks. No more high road, boys.
— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) November 2, 2016
There are quite a few reasons that playing college football on Friday night is poor idea and largely only one reason it’s good. And that one reason — money — trumps everything else.
No one will pretend and say it hasn’t been that way for a while, but the Big Ten just can’t help themselves. First, it was the expansion to bring in Rutgers and Maryland in an effort to add more eyes to the Big Ten Network, then moving conference tournaments to the East Coast and now adding to the oversaturation of football by putting its product on Friday night.
From the perspective of an out of town season ticket holder, Friday night games would be all but impossible. https://t.co/09w0iPUm9r
— Tracy Clementi (@tracyclem) November 2, 2016
Michigan has flat-out said “no” to playing in Friday night games, while Penn State released a statement that indicated it would not host games. Several other schools, like Iowa and Ohio State, are open to it but with restrictions.
As for Wisconsin, they are also open to hosting Friday night games at Camp Randall Stadium but only before the Labor Day weekend.
— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) November 2, 2016
For programs like Illinois, Purdue, Rutgers and perhaps even Maryland, playing on Friday nights isn’t a horrible idea. Schools that are building an identity and need the exposure to help in that process could benefit from being the only Big Ten game going on.
But for Wisconsin, and other established programs in the conference, it does little other than annoy the high school football coaches in the state, potentially limit the ability of recruits to come to games and puts stress on season ticket holders from all over Wisconsin and neighboring states to make it to Madison on a weekday.
The WFCA does not support Big Ten's decision to play college games on Friday nights. Further comment & info will be provided in coming days.
— WiFCA (@wifca) November 2, 2016
In the end, are Friday night football games going to ruin the Big Ten? Absolutely not. But it feels like conference leaders are searching for a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
Still going strong
Andrew Endicott’s Twitter account is now private. Yours would be too if you had experienced what the Wisconsin kicker did last Saturday night. As told to Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, following Edicott’s two misses against Nebraska — a potential game-winner in regulation and a missed extra point in overtime — he returned home and saw a timeline filled with hate.
“Saturday night was awful,” he said. “I had a lot of people saying some pretty nasty things on Twitter. I tried to not see it, but they tag you and tell you to kill yourself and to drink bleach.
“It’s the first time I ever had someone tell me to kill myself.”
Wisconsin won the game despite the misses, and Endicott returned to practice this week with the expected playful trash-talk from his teammates. But what level of confidence does — or should — coach Paul Chryst have in the senior. He’s now 6 of 9 on the season since replacing the injured Rafael Gaglianone to start the Big Ten season, along with a pair of missed extra points.
If Endicott had a ton of experience in high school or college, then Chryst’s decision would likely be easy. You stay with Endicott despite the iffy kicking against Nebraska. But Chryst and company really have no way to know how Endicott will respond to that hit in confidence last week. Practice is one thing, but what if Wisconsin needs him to hit a game-winner this week against Northwestern?
Chryst will say the right thing, telling the media that he hasn’t lost an ounce of confidence in Endicott and the struggles against the Huskers won’t impact his decision-making moving forward. And he doesn’t really have a choice, because it doesn’t appear that the other potential kicker on the roster, redshirt freshman Zach Hintze, is ready. But it’s one thing to say it, and another to do it.
We’ll see where Chryst’s mind is at on Saturday if the Badgers face a fourth-and-4 at the Northwestern 30-yard line. If Wisconsin goes for it, we’ll have our answer.
Policies will change at Camp Randall
The fallout and reaction from a fan wearing a President Barack Obama mask with a noose around his neck at Camp Randall Stadium last week continued on Wednesday as Wisconsin held a forum with community leaders intended to discuss new policies for future games.
I'm offended that they allowed a fan into the game with this.
— Nigel Hayes (@NIGEL_HAYES) October 30, 2016
Athletic director Barry Alvarez, along with Boys and Girls Club of Dane County President and CEO Michael Johnson, were among those at the meeting that also involved students.
Alvarez released a statement following the meeting:
“I am deeply troubled by the incident from last Saturday’s game and I am sorry for the harm it caused. I am determined that nothing like this will happen again.
“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with a number of community leaders and students this afternoon to discuss our stadium policies. Our plan, before our next home football game, is to have a revised policy in place. Our department is committed to working collaboratively to make our stadium a great and safe place for fans to watch a football game.”
Wisconsin’s initial reaction to the fan, merely asking them to take off the costume instead of ejecting them, has drawn a lot of criticism, including the statement the school sent out after the game.
“The costume, while repugnant AND COUNTER TO THE VALUES OF THE UNIVERSITY AND ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT, was an exercise of the individual’s right to free speech.”
The change in policies, which are expected to be presented just days before Wisconsin hosts Illinois on Nov. 12, will almost certainly address the inability to remove someone from the game for something as “repugnant” as the costume worn by the fan. And it should be.
Obviously there are legal aspects of such a move, but if you can kick someone out for being too intoxicated or for yelling too many obscenities that it impacts those around them, then something as mindless and archaic as a costume depicting a sitting president being hanged can get you the boot as well.
When the first College Football Playoff rankings came out, and Wisconsin came in at No. 8, everyone knew that meant the Badgers had good chance to make a push to be among the final four teams despite having two losses. Now we know exactly what those chances are.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the Badgers’ chances of winning the Big Ten are at 13 percent, the chances of making the playoff is at 11 percent and the chance of a national title is at 1 percent. All of those are third among Big Ten teams, sitting behind Michigan and Ohio State.
None of those numbers should instill confidence in Badgers fans, but they also mean the opportunity to make this season special is still there. Wisconsin will be favored in each of its last four games, starting with a trip to Northwestern this Saturday.
Get through that, and get one loss from Nebraska along the way, and the Badgers will be in the Big Ten title game, where an upset would leave Wisconsin 11-2 and a pretty nice option for the selection committee. It’s unlikely, but certainly doable for Wisconsin.
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- Ohio State football: Projecting the Buckeyes class of 2017
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