Stop me if you’ve heard this one…
The pundits said they had no chance in their January bowl game. Outmanned and outgunned on both sides of the ball. Not enough depth. Not enough athleticism. Not enough speed. A slow, plodding team meets the irresistible force of the Southeastern Conference’s finest.
To be sure, there was the occasional voice in the wilderness. That Midwest beat writer in some random smalltown newspaper column who entertained the idea of the SEC being about parity more than superiority. “Is the SEC so competitive because the best are beating the best?” he pondered. “Or is it because the average are beating the average?”
But his was a lone voice. After all, the SEC was football country. And this was a two-loss SEC team a mere handful of points removed from a shot at the national championship game. “The best two-loss team in the country,” said many, adding, “This team is too good for such an overmatched bowl opponent.”
And just what had this “overmatched bowl opponent” and their rotund head coach done to earn such derisive nods from the college football talking heads?
An offense that had scored 31 or more points in 8 of 12 games was simply dismissed as a product of a “weak schedule”…
They had played a close game against a mediocre North Carolina team…
Their defense was soft, giving up a lot of points to a lot of teams, good and bad…
They had lost to the only two ranked teams they played all season…
Final Score of the 2006 Capital One Bowl:
Wisconsin 24 – Auburn 10
Are last season’s Badgers this season’s Irish?
Could two storylines be any similar, down to the smallest statistic?
Probably little more than one of those completely random string of coincidences.
Then again, it always helps that a precedence has been established.
YOU CAN’T WIN IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE.