No soup bowl for you!

Is it the Fickell finger of fate?

Let’s have a little pride, shall we Bucky? Your football team embarrassed itself. You lost, again, at home. At Camp Randall to a middling Big Ten West team. A team helmed by a freshman back-up who played Wisconsin like the Pinball Wizard.

Our own quarterback — a three-year starter — once again chokes in crunch time by throwing the pigskin directly into the hands of a defender. Almost mercifully (and we wish harm to none) Graham Mertz gets knocked out of the game. We play a back-up quarterback who should have been given some playing time during the season, especially given that Mertz was more erratic than a dumb blonde joke.

"Can't anybody here play this game?" — Casey Stengel of the Amazin' expansion team Mets.

Might it not be Jim Leonhard?

Wisconsin has targeted Luke Fickell to be the school’s next head coach, sources told ESPN. No deal is signed, but there’s a strong push by the Badgers to try and land Fickell in the next 48 hours. Fickell led Cincinnati to the College Football Playoff last season and has gone 57-18 in his six years there. Fickell’s 2021 Bearcat team went 13-0 before losing to Alabama in the College Football Playoff, becoming the first Group of Five team to reach the CFP.


Miraculously, the neglected senior gets his team to the Minnesota 5 yard line. Cue up the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup: Holding. False Start. Incomplete pass. False start. False Start. Second and goal at the 30-yard line. Two passes thrown out of the end zone, almost into the seats. (But no interceptions!)

Like most Badger fans, the indentured servants cursing their b&w Philco want Jim Leonhard to get the head coaching job on a permanent basis. A one-year contract should suffice. Would have helped if the regular season hadn’t ended a) in a loss at home. b) like a clown show. Maybe if Leonhard had benched Mertz once or twice in his seven games after Paul Chryst the poobahs at the UW would detect some toughness. (Do not resort to the standard excuse that Wisconsin academics are too rigorous for the average football brute; Michigan is considered a better school than UW.)

Blaska’s Bottom Line: At a mediocre 6 and 6, the Wisconsin Badgers do not deserve a bowl game of any stripe, not even one named after mayonnaise or a garbage dumpster. Have some pride. Don’t subject any more eyeballs to your ineptitude. 

Is it time to take a knee?


About David Blaska

Madison WI
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19 Responses to No soup bowl for you!

  1. One Eye says:

    Leonhard is too green to be head coach and needs to get more varied experience elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

      “Leonhard is too green to be head coach and needs to get more varied experience elsewhere.”

      The Gotch said something eerily similar in January 2017 after Justin Wilcox jumped ship:

      Leonhard’s an up-n-coming position coach, but shouldn’t even be in the conversation for U.W. DC

      How’d THAT work out?

      Other Gotch…um…learned predictions will put that in perspective:
      *Ronald Reagan won’t even get the 1980 nomination, much less make it into the WH
      *The only way The Donald ever sees the Oval Office is if he takes a WH tour.

      How’d THOSE work out?

      Anywho, factor in that he’s on the radar of others; he turned down a January 2021 offer to be the 13 Time World Champion Green Bay Packer DC, which would have doubled/tripled his salary.

      Let him go, and you’ll see a mass exodus of players like you’ve never seen and you’ll wish for a .500 season!


      The Gotch

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pasco says:

    Our backup got plenty of chances in previous years and was also recouping from injury most of the season. Fickle would be an interesting choice. Who ever gets the job it better come by Monday. Coaches recruit and the players they bring in are the best we have. Leave the kids out of it there are plentiful other places to point the finger.
    I would start with PJ Fleck, our football staff and all the democratic woke.


  3. Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

    “Maybe if Leonhard had benched Mertz once or twice in his seven games”

    He considered benching him in the NE game, but elected against it after seeing a “confidence” in Mertz’s eyes.

    The State Journal’s Jim Polzin pulled no punches when he said the quiet part out loud: UW’s QB Problem NEEDS_FIXING_ASAP!

    Bucky’s OL is getting the same caliber of recruits, the inconsistency injuries created hasn’t helped, but overall (IMO) they’re just not getting coached up TO_BE_ROAD_GRADERS like they have in the past.

    A stretch_the_field TE…or two (2) would’ve made a difference.

    “A one-year contract should suffice.”

    You kidding, right? That shows ZERO confidence in a hire to lead a program for a game where confidence is everything; no coach worth his salt would agree to those terms, not to mention what it would do for (READ: AGAINST) recruiting.

    Leonhard has FAR</ too many positives to let him go; the players love him, the fans love him, and he loves Madison!

    He's exponentially overachieved in everything pigskin related. He's left a lotta do-re-mi on the table to stay here; he has The Gotch vote!


    The Gotch

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Bob says:

    Wisconsin football seems to have many problems. First is recruitment. What happened to all the offensive and defensive prime players? What happened to player development? Graham Mertz was this high rated recruit and didn’t look bad for a freshman but hasn’t progressed. The offensive line seems to have gotten worse over the last 3 years. They don’t open up holes for the run game and their pass blocking is below average. The defensive seems to be getting worse also even though it is what keeps the team in games.
    As for a bowl game, if they go I hope it isn’t another showing like yesterday.
    With players being able to change schools easier now it will be interesting to see what shakes out.


  5. patrickmoloughlin says:

    Leonard gets the job, or else I stop watching.


  6. Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

    The Gotch’s State Journal Sports Department Editor source says Fickell it is.

    Then there’s this from SI:

    REPORT: Luke Fickell’s Deal With Wisconsin ”DONE”

    The Gotch


  7. One Eye says:

    And it’s official. The Fickell era begins.


  8. Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

    What sucks is this is/was Leonhard’s dream job.

    But as a grip_it_and_rip_it business decision, this was a no-brainer…as in NOT made from the HEART…which Blaise Pascal fans know has its reasons, which reason knows nothing of.

    Anywho, you can’t argue Fickell’s track record; he has seven (7) seasons HCing experience, Leonhard has seven (7) games.

    Leonhard’s barely 40, he’ll land on his feet like he always has; something tells The Gotch he’ll be back this way again.

    The Gotch


  9. Bill Cleary says:

    Well, you know what they say…… 10,000 attaboy’s and one “ah shucks” wipes them all out.

    It must be a hard job to coach football at any level beyond high school and even then I would imagine that in some towns, even high school coaches have it difficult.

    Being a coach is one thing. Putting a good program together is far different from putting a great program together.

    I would imagine that finding a coach that will put a great program together, then finding the players that believe in him, want to play for him is altogether another thing.

    But I must say one thing. If you look at the stats, even good old Barry did not have the best of all records.


  10. David Blaska says:

    Jim Leonhard goes to Cincinnati?


    • Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

      “Jim Leonhard goes to Cincinnati?”

      There exists an opening…

      Don’t rule out him replacing the 13 Time World Champion Green Bay Packers eminently replaceable DC Joe Barry.

      363 rushing yards @an embarrassingly blistering 7.4 yards per carry allowed?

      Why would anyone throw the ball…only three (3) things can happen & two of ’em are bad…?

      The Gotch


  11. Kooter says:

    I am a casual Badger fan and actually went to the game Saturday. Sitting in the stands I said to myself: “so Leonard is going to be the guy, huh?”. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy and everything but I’ve just not seen Dynamic coaching from him to justify a head coaching job. Packers should fire defensive coordinator Barry and hire Leonard instead! Other questions I have: how do you turn four quarters of college football and half-time into 3.5 hours?! How come I can’t buy a beer at Camp Randall Stadium?!


    • Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

      “how do you turn four quarters of college football and half-time into 3.5 hours?!”

      Media/commercial/assorted timeouts and time stoppages on bonehead penalties & Mertz’s incomplete passes.

      “How come I can’t buy a beer at Camp Randall Stadium?!”

      Get yourself into a Hospitality Suite and it’s all free; The Gotch and his Dear late Father were lucky enough to be invited to the Wolf Sub-Zero Suite a number of times.

      The…er…great unwashed will likely never see BEER-N-WINE SALES; that’s why The Gotch watches in his certified RED ROOM replete with fully stocked Bucky Fridge five (5) steps from his seat.

      The Gotch


  12. Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

    According to NBC-15’s Jocko, Fickell’s discussed Leonhard staying on as DC.

    Wouldn’t THAT be something!

    The Gotch


  13. Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

    Justin James (J.J.) Watt: “Jim Leonhard is one of the greatest & most beloved Badgers of all time [..] Really feel for him in this process. He represents everything great about Wisconsin. At the same time, INCREDIBLY EXCITED ABOUT THE LUKE FICKELL HIRE AND THE MESSAGE IT SENDS ABOUT OUR GOALS & EXPECTATIONS (bolds/caps/italics mine)

    *11th overall pick 2011 NFL draft…and these minor details:
    *5× Pro Bowl selection (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018)
    *5× First-team All-Pro selection (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018)
    *3× Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014, 2015)
    *3× Pro Football Writers Association NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014, 2015)
    *3× Sporting News Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014, 2015)
    *3× Pro Football Focus Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2013, 2014)
    *3× Pro Football Focus Best Player of the Year (2012, 2013, 2014)
    *4× Kansas City Committee of 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014, 2015, 2018)
    *2× NFL sacks leader (2012, 2015)
    *AP NFL MVP runner-up (2014)
    *Bert Bell Award (2014)
    *Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (2017)
    *Pro Bowl Defensive MVP (2014)
    *Ranked No. 5 in the Top 100 Players of 2013
    *Ranked No. 12 in the Top 100 Players of 2014
    *Ranked No. 1 in the Top 100 Players of 2015
    *Ranked No. 3 in the Top 100 Players of 2016
    *Ranked No. 35 in the Top 100 Players of 2017
    *Ranked No. 84 in the Top 100 Players of 2018
    *Ranked No. 12 in the Top 100 Players of 2019
    *Ranked No. 45 in the Top 100 Players of 2020
    *First player with multiple 20-sack seasons (2012, 2014)
    *4× PFWA All-NFL Team (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
    *6× AFC Defensive Player of the Month (Sep. 2012, Dec. 2012, Sep. 2014, Dec. 2014, Nov. 2015, Sep. 2018)


    The Gotch


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