To be blunt, a lack of smarts coupled with a lack of savvy sealed the Badgers’ fate. When the Badgers chose to tie the game by kicking an extra point rather than going for a 2-point conversion, it revealed the stupidity of Coach Bret Bieleman as well as his silent twelve-man coaching staff. The decision showed no confidence in the team’s offensive
ability. Likewise, when he chose to stop playing aggressive defense, it revealed his lack of confidence in his team’s defensive ability.
Both decisions were unwarranted. It was not as though the Badgers were outclassed and physically outplayed, they were not. To the contrary, the box score reveals that the Badgers had a more potent offense and a stingier defense; however, the box score does not and cannot explicitly state stupidity ─ that has to be inferred by particular statistics, of which there are many. To mention just a few: turnovers, time of possession, and number of penalties ─ all favoring the Spartans.
If Bieleman had had one statistician on his staff and if the staff had considerably more
testosterone, the Badgers would likely have won the game. Moreover, if the players had just one star amongst themselves who could think as well as run, pass, catch, block, or
tackle, he would have made himself heard and prevailed upon his coach to play to win, not to forestall defeat for a minute and 26 seconds.
In fairness to the Badgers, Why should we expect any independent, critical thinkers to surface on the playing field, for such thinking nowadays is disparaged in virtually all schools throughout our nation? Evidently, football players are now like soldiers: they are to do and die, not to reason why! Michigan State, as it clearly demonstrated, is an exception to the rule. Such a lame-brained decision, unfortunately, is what we have come to expect from government, but we should not expect it coming from one of our nation’s top-ranked football teams. Such lame-brained decisions as this one is the sort of nonsense that we have come to expect from government, but we should be appalled when it emanates from one of our nation’s top-ranked football teams. Pusillanimity has no place on the gridiron. The feeble-minded, feeble-willed decision was doubtless wrongheaded, yet brained-numbed TV commentators failed even to mention that the decision might, just might, possibly have been wrong. In this topsy-turvy world, sports must not reflect society, but rather lead it.
Having made the last two scores, two touchdowns, in the previous eight minutes, the Badgers had the momentum. Moreover, the Spartans had not been able to stop the Badgers’ powerful offense all day, which entered the game ranked as the nation’s number scoring offense. The Badgers star running back, Montee Ball, had carried the ball 18
times for 115 yards ─ an average of 6.4 yds. per carry. The Spartans had no better success in stopping the Badgers passing attack ─ save two interceptions, two sacks, two
blocked punts, and a safety ─ but those stats have no bearing on a 2-pt conversion attempt; what is relevant, however, is that Russell Wilson had completed 14 of 21 passes. Hence, we can deduce that the Badgers were quite potent both on the ground and in the air.
With these statistics, it is realistic to assume that the Badgers’ likelihood of making the 2-pt conversion would be considerably higher than the national average, which is 43.5 % ─ that is, had they gone for it. The probability was about 60%, we will assume for argument’s sake. By not going for the 2 points, they blew their best chance to win the game.
Opting for the 1-pt conversion dramatically skewed the odds in the Spartans’ favor. Whether the Badger players were consciously aware of this egregious decision adversely
effecting their odds of winning, it must have, to no small degree, affected their play, having lost their coach’s confidence in them.
First, the Badgers had to contain the Spartans for a long minute and 26 seconds, the Spartans having two timeouts yet to take. From hindsight, we know this
did not happen. Why not? The Badgers lost their confidence in how to
play the game . . . and the aggressiveness necessary to win ─ they gave up the
short game, rushing just three men. Badgers quarterback Kirk Cousins, up to this time with three men rushing him, had all the time he needed to complete all of his 5 pass attempts. In the remaining 86 seconds, with no rush again, he would complete all 4 of his attempted passes.
Were the Spartans to move the ball inside the Badgers 40-yard line, Dan Conroy, who this year has kicked three field goals in four attempts from 50 yards or more, would likely have kicked the winning field goal. Unwittingly, the Badgers allowed the Spartans to move the ball with relative ease. Notwithstanding, the Spartans failed to get the ball close enough for an attempted field goal, so they had to throw the “Hail Mary” pass. Had there been a four or five-man rush, Cousins would likely have been forced to release the ball sooner, necessitating a shorter pass that would have fallen well short of the goal line.
For mathematics’ sake, let’s say that the likelihood of the Spartans scoring in those 86 seconds was a statistical 50%. In the event that they had not scored, they still would still have had yet another crack at winning in overtime, say 50%, all things being equal.
Thus, with four possible outcomes, they had a 75% chance of winning the game.
Had the Badgers gone for the 2-point conversion and gotten it and if they subsequently had played tight defense, they would likely have won, or at least, they would have significantly enhanced their odds of winning.
If Coach Bret Bieleman were wise, henceforth he would emulate Spartans
Head Coach Mark Dantonio’s aggressive defense, ranked # 2 in the nation,
relying as much on brains as brawn to win.