It’s been quite the turnaround for the Wisconsin football team. And guess what? The Badgers are now on the verge of accomplishing something that hasn’t happened since … well, 2018.
So not that long ago.
But if the Badgers can reach the Big Ten championship game, they will still make a little history. In fact, they will become just the second team ever from a Power Conference to reach the conference championship after being multiple games below .500 four weeks into the season.
Whoever thought we’d be saying that after the Badgers’ 1-3 start?
Today, they have seven won straight and only need a victory Saturday to accomplish the feat and play in the Big Ten title game. The only other Power Five team to do what Wisconsin is on the verge of accomplishing is Northwestern, also of the Big Ten, also starting 1-3 in 2018.
“You see that (start of) 1-3. Not a lot of college teams fight back from that,” Wisconsin cornerback Faion Hicks told reporters. “I’m very proud of this group for putting their heads down to keep working and doing what we’re doing. But we know the work’s not finished.”
That is the truth. After all, the Badgers (8-3, 6-2) still have to take care of Minnesota. Then there’s the presumed matchup vs. Ohio State, assuming the Buckeyes can get past Michigan.
Either way, the turnaround for coach Paul Chryst and Wisconsin has started largely because of the defense. It eventually lived up to the lofty expectations at about the five-week mark, when the winning streak started.
“At the beginning of the year, we were a lot of talk and not much action,” safety Scott Nelson said. “We kind of overcame that and understood who we are as a team.”
Meanwhile, quarterback Graham Mertz, running back Braelon Allen and the rest of the offense got rolling after a players-only meeting that took place just before the winning streak.
So the Badgers went from high expectations, to being a massive disappointment, to becoming a team that has a shot to match some history. And who knows, maybe even take it a step further and make some history of their own.