School teachers in Madison could use the game last Saturday between Wisconsin and Indiana as a word problem for math students:
Every time the Badgers score, Bucky does a push up for each of Wisconsin's total points. If Wisconsin scored 83, how many push ups did Bucky do?
(The answer, by the way, is 573)
For the first few years of his tenure as head football coach at the University of Wisconsin, Bret Bielema wasn't high atop the popularity list for many fans.
This year, however, the things that have won over his detractors in the state are making him a growing enemy across the country.
After trouncing Indiana, 83-20, last week at Camp Randall Stadium, some national pundits like ESPN Radio's Mike Golic and ESPN.com College Football columnist Pat Forde -- just to name a few -- called Bielema out for ìrunning up the score against the hapless hoosiers.
Bielema heard similar complaints after rocking Austin Peay, 70-3, earlier this year and going for a two-point conversion late in a runaway victory over Minnesota a few weeks ago.
What's Scorecard's take?
These "experts" should just shut up.
Unfortunately, in this day and age of the BCS, style points matter. It's not who you beat, it's by how much you beat them. A 23-10 victory over Indiana would get a brief mention on ìSportsCenter,î but a 63-point margin of victory gets you extended coverage, a couple of extra jokes and maybe even a pun-laden full-screen graphic.
This, in turn, is noticed by voters who are otherwise too busy writing stories about their own teams or watching whatever game is being carried in their market to otherwise notice a Big Ten game not involving Ohio State.
Even beyond that, there's more integrity at play.
Had Scott Tolzein and the other starters still been in the starting lineup late in the game, sure, you could rip Bielema all you want. But it was the third-string, the fourth-string ñ guys whose only action normally is waving towels to get the crowd involved and telling girls at Langdon Street parties that they're on the team.
Were these kids, who get their butts kicked day in and day out in practice, only to spend a majority of the time watching from the sidelines supposed to just roll over and play nice when finally given the opportunity for extended playing time?
For many of these kids, it was their only opportunity to show the coaching staff what they have to offer in a real game situation. These guys are taught to move the chains, get to the end zone and win the game. They aren't taught to come in, and lay down for an overmatched opponent to save face.
Bielema and the Badgers didn't run up the score, they simply did what they had to do to win a football game and take care of themselves within the confines of a flawed system. If Bielema is guilty of anything, it's subjecting Bucky Badger to doing way, way too many pushups this season.
Friendly confines: Staying in the Big Ten, Illinois travels to Chicago today to face Northwestern in a game that will be played at Wrigley Field. No stranger to football, Wrigley was home to the Chicago Bears until 1970.
The park is still the same, but some changes to the seating and field forced some creative planning when installing the football field, which runs from east to west in the legendary ballpark.
The west end zone ended just inches from the right field wall, which required additional padding to protect from injury. In addition, the goal post was affixed directly into Wrigley's famed brick and ivy walls.
After several days of outcry, the Big Ten Friday decided to make a last minute change and all of the offensive action will take place in the same direction. All kickoffs will be to the east and both the Illini and Wildcats will move their offense towards the west end zone.
Of course, it remains to be seen what happens on interceptions and other changes of possession.
It also makes you wonder just how good the engineering programs are in Evanston and Champaign.
Hot water: There are many in Milwaukee who still long for the days that Bruce Pearl was roaming the sidelines at the U.S. Cellular Arena. Pearl, who left UWM after a surprising Sweet 16 run in 2004, is getting into more and more trouble at Tennessee.
Pearl has suspended for the Volunteers' first eight Southeast Conference contests this season, a punishment from the conference for NCAA rules violations and misleading investigators.
College athletics, especially in the southeast, are a cut-throat business but it's still disappointing that Pearl has gone down this road. Considering his role in the Deon Thomas/Jimmy Collins incident -- one which many believe led to him being blacklisted from potential Division I jobs -- you would have hoped that Pearl, a charismatic and likable guy, would have had more common sense.
But considering his suspension is only eight games, you also have to be disappointed in the level of cheating tolerated by the SEC.
Larry King Lounge: The NBA All-Star ballot was announced this week and the Bucks have five players -- Andrew Bogut, Drew Gooden , Cory Maggette, John Salmons and Brandon Jennings -- on the list ... The Brewers and Admirals are teaming up on a ticket package which allows fans to buy an Admirals ticket for $16 and receive a ticket to a 2011 Brewers game ... Former Marquette standout Wesley Matthews and current members of the Golden Eagles are donating 100 frozen turkeys to the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee ... Could Sunday be the final chapter in the Brett Favre saga?