The Joe & Ebo Experience: Wisconsin Sports Heartbreak

The Guys Recap a Bad Weekend (0:00)

Callers Weigh In on the Packers Tie (10:35)

Badger Insider RJ Talks Badgers Game Plan (30:11)

RJ Stays to Compare This Badgers Team to Past Teams (36:41)

Tex Western Gives His Take on the Packers/Vikings Game (47:34)

Joe & Nelson Try to Pick the Best of the Weekend (57:15)

 

Badgers beat at their own game in loss to BYU

MADISON – Well, it happened.

After two weeks of uninspiring, unimpressive performances the Wisconsin Badgers were knocked off 24-21 by the BYU Cougars at Camp Randall.

Wisconsin entered Saturday with a non-conference home winning streak dating back to 2003 and hopes of an undefeated season and left the field with neither of those things still intact. Wisconsin is a more talented team than BYU, in the opinion of most, but that certainly did not show on this sundrenched Saturday afternoon.

Don’t get things twisted, Wisconsin deserved this. The Badgers opened up the season at No. 4 in the AP Top 25 before dropping one spot in after each of the first two games. The sixth-ranked squad wasn’t impressive in either of their 31-point victories over Western Kentucky and New Mexico and they certainly weren’t in this loss.

BYU came into Saturday’s game as 22.5-point underdogs by the oddsmakers in Las Vegas. The Cougars weren’t supposed to be able to give Wisconsin a close game, much less knock them from the ranks of the unbeaten.

It’s easy to point at the missed field goal by Rafael Gaglianone with under one minute remaining that would’ve tied the game as the reason for Wisconsin’s loss, but it’s deeper than that.

Wisconsin wasn’t just beat on Saturday. The Badgers were beat at their own game. BYU came into Camp Randall and was the more physical team, seemed to out scheme the Badgers, and looked more prepared. The Cougars used tons of misdirection offensively – including a multitude of jet sweeps and end arounds, which is a Wisconsin staple – to keep Jim Leonhard’s unit off balance.

BYU even scored on a trick play, and it was very similar to one that the Badgers had seen before, just not by BYU. In Week 1, Western Kentucky ran a very similar double-pass to the one that the Cougars used to take a 14-7 lead over Wisconsin in the second quarter.

Offensively, Wisconsin’s highly touted offensive line struggled against a physical front. BYU’s linebackers had little trouble navigating blockers throughout the day as they held Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor to a season-low 117 yards on the ground.

BYU’s three starting linebackers were all among the game’s five leading tacklers. Sione Takitaki led the way with 13 total stops on the day. It seemed as if he was around the ball on every play.

Maybe Wisconsin was caught looking ahead to next weekend’s showdown under the lights on the road against Iowa. Maybe Wisconsin hasn’t fully moved on from the success that was the 2017 season. But right now, the Badgers don’t look like the force, or playoff contender, that many expected them to be.

Those dreams aren’t dead, but the Badgers have some soul searching to do because another performance like the one against BYU will be enough to put the nail in Wisconsin’s coffin.

“I think all of our goals that we want to achieve are still right in front of us,” linebacker T.J. Edwards said after the loss. “It starts with beating Iowa and winning the West which is never an easy thing to do. We have a big opponent next week and you don’t really think big picture, you just go week-to-week. That’s something we do really well.”

Edwards is right, if Wisconsin finishes out the season with 10 consecutive wins, there is still a chance they find themselves in the College Football Playoff. That’s entirely possible, especially with trips to Penn State and Michigan as resume boosters.

The problem for Wisconsin, however, is that this team has shown little to inspire the confidence to believe that’s a realistic possibility.

Wisconsin to play at Wrigley Field in 2020

When the University of Wisconsin Badgers take on Northwestern in the 2020 football season it won’t be in Evanston, Ill. at Ryan Field. According to the Chicago Tribune, the game will be played at Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs.

The game is set for November 7, 2020, and will be the first football game at Wrigley Field since Northwestern lost to the University of Illinois 48-27 back in 2010.

While the game is a Northwestern home game, this marks the second game on the schedule for the Badgers in the 2020 season that will take place at a non-traditional college stadium. The Badgers will also be taking on the University of Notre Dame at Lambeau Field in Green Bay on October 3, 2020.

Rehab continues for former Wisconsin LB Jack Cichy as he sets his sights on a new goal

When Jack Cichy was in high school, he had just one major goal when it came to the game of football, and it wasn’t playing in the NFL.

“I wanted to walk-on and play big-time college football,” Cichy said Friday when he joined “The Joe and Ebo Show” on the Wisconsin Sports Zone Network. “When you’re in a position like I was, the NFL really isn’t in your mindset. I wasn’t even thinking that far ahead.”

The thought of playing in the NFL is no longer considered too far ahead. It’s actually the former Wisconsin linebacker’s only focus. Well, that and rehabbing from the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee that cost him his senior season. But the two are very much intertwined and have been almost since the day Cichy let out a scream that reverberated throughout a mostly empty Camp Randall Stadium last August as he crumpled to the ground holding his knee. It was in that moment, and in the following days, that he started to realize he’d played his last game for the Badgers.

Former Wisconsin linebacker Jack Cichy joins “The Joe & Ebo Show”

The feeling wasn’t unfamiliar as a torn pectoral muscle had brought his junior season to end after just seven games the previous October. That was excruciating for Cichy, who might have been playing the best of anyone on the Badgers’ defense at the time. So good, in fact, that he said if he had played the entire year, he might have considered leaving early for the NFL.

But the devastating injury last fall had a feeling of finality to it. A fifth-year senior, Cichy could have applied for another year of eligibility, though the chances of the NCAA actually granting it were slim. Instead, he turned his attention to something that seemed unfathomable when he arrived in Madison four and a half years earlier as a nondescript walk-on from Somerset, Wis., — playing in the NFL.

“My thought process [was], I need all my eggs in one basket, and I can’t have that if I’m stuck waiting for that decision,” Cichy said of a potential appeal to the NCAA. “At that point in my life, with the rollercoaster of emotions I’d gone through and was going through, I needed something concrete. I chose what I thought was the most concrete route.”

After a season of essentially rehabbing and serving as an extra defensive coach for the Badgers as they repeated as Big Ten West champions and won the Orange Bowl, that route has brought Cichy to Arizona and the EXOS training facility. It’s where NFL hopefuls like Cichy go to get themselves in the best shape for the annual NFL combine held in late February and early March.

Cichy got a coveted invite to the combine based largely on his outstanding production late in the 2015 season and what he put on tape early in 2016. He started just 11 games during that stretch but was off the charts productive, averaging 8.5 tackles per game, while racking up 14 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. It’s even more impressive when you consider he missed large stretches in three of those games thanks to being ejected from one, forced to miss the first half of another and getting injured in a third.

Those glimpses of excellent play has teams intrigued and they want to see more. But unlike his roommate and Wisconsin teammate Troy Fumagalli, who is also at EXOS and working on his 40-yard dash, vertical leap and every other on-field test NFL personnel will put players through at the combine, Cichy is still very much in rehab mode.

“At the combine, I’ll be able to bench and I’ll be able to go through all the medical evals,” said Cichy, who is right around six months clear from surgery. “I’ll keep working towards coming back fully and not rushing it.”

The 6-foot-2, 234-pound Cichy admits he’s not quite sure how the next few months will play out. That’s a change from his time at Wisconsin, where the calendar was structured and he always knew what was coming next. The hope, at least in his mind, is he’ll be able to show how far along he is in his rehab at Wisconsin’s pro day in March and in any private workouts with individual teams in the weeks that follow.

“As we get closer to the draft, hopefully my recovery process [remains] on schedule … and there are no hiccups along the way,” Cichy said. “And [then] come the end of April, [I] hear my name called in some way, shape or form. Be able to have another chance to earn a spot.”

Report: Wisconsin linebackers coach to become Oregon State defensive coordinator

Wisconsin outside linebackers coach Tim Tibesar will become the defensive coordinator at Oregon State, as Rivals.com first reported on Sunday.

Oregon State underwent a coaching change midseason when former Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen abruptly resigned. The Beavers hired Jonathan Smith as his replacement on Nov. 29. Smith was previously the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Washington.

Tibesar has been the outside linebackers coach for the Badgers for the past three seasons. He also was named the defensive run game coordinator prior to the 2017 season.

The defensive coordinator position at Wisconsin came open twice during his time in Madison, and he applied both times. The first came after the 2015 season when Dave Aranda left for LSU and the second came last January when Justin Wilcox was hired as the head coach at California. He was passed over both times.

In his time at Wisconsin, Tibesar has seen three of his players selected in the NFL draft in Joe Schobert (Cleveland Browns), T.J. Watt (Pittsburgh Steelers), and Vince Biegel (Green Bay Packers). Outside linebackers Garrett Dooley and Leon Jacobs may hear their names called this spring in the draft.

This will be Tibesar’s fifth defensive coordinator position. He has previously held the position for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (2011), as well as in the collegiate ranks at Purdue (2012), North Dakota (2004-05), and Kansas (2006-07).

Wisconsin graduate assistant named East Central University head coach

MADISON — Wisconsin graduate assistant Al Johnson has been named the head coach at East Central University, the school has announced.

Johnson was in his second year as a graduate assistant at Wisconsin during the 2017 season. He helped out offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph with offensive line duties during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Johnson was a stand-out offensive lineman for Wisconsin from 2000-2002. He was a three-year starter and was named All-Big Ten as an honorable mention for the 2000 and 2001 seasons. He was named to the All-Big Ten second team for the 2002 season. Johnson was then selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft.

East Central University is a Division II institution located in Ada, Okla.