Peter Parker, better known as the web-slinging vigilant Spiderman, has something in common with the 2010 Wisconsin Badgers football team.
Much like the reigning Champs Sports Bowl winner, Parker came to realize that with “great power comes great responsibility.” The power would not only be his “gift” but his “curse” as well.
Such is the reality for the 2010 Badgers. Fresh off a 10-3 season, the Badgers are suddenly a “sexy” pick to win the Big Ten and lock up a Rose Bowl bid that has eluded the team since 1999. Suffice to say, the team has made quite the turnaround since their 7-6 debacle in 2008.
But if you’re thinking the Badgers are due for some “star” treatment, think again.
It was just three years ago, that the Badgers were ranked No. 7 in the preseason AP Top 25 Poll. That was supposedly, “the year.” Virtually everyone on the “legendary” 12-1 team from the year before was back and the pollsters took note.
To make a long story short, the Badgers peaked at No. 6 in Week Six of the season and from then on proceeded to go 4-4. Badger fans were crushed by the lost season. The 2007 Badgers could not live up to their responsibility.
Flash forward to now. Virtually everyone from the “upstart” 10-3 team is back and college football analysts are well aware. Just look at some of the individual polls coming out already. One poll has Wisconsin ranked as high as No. 9 going into the 2010 season. The Sporting News has the Badgers ranked No. 10 and calls the team “Bret Bielema’s best…yet.” Scout.com also has Wisconsin as No. 9 but questions whether the “club can play up to expectations.”
The question of whether the Badgers can play up to expectations is a legitimate one. Even during last season’s surprise 10-3 campaign, Bret Bielema’s team only won three out six games against winning teams. Of those three wins, only one, Miami (FL) was from a BCS conference.
Translate that to this season. A loss to Ohio State at Camp Randall or a loss to Iowa at Kinnick Stadium will just not do. The only exception would be if those hiccups occur on the road to Pasadena.
With the Badgers primed to begin the season as a top 10 team (almost certainly not lower than top 15) their responsibility to live up to expectations is undeniable. As Peter Parker could attest, that likely high ranking will be the Badgers “gift” however, if expectations are not met, it will be their “curse” as well. Surely, Bret Bielema has given his players such a message. If not, Spiderman is On-Demand for a crash course.