Football Season Cometh

at all levels, it's time to start tossing around the pigskin

Luc Anthony

Local sports media say: The Badgers will do well, but not necessarily win the B1G Championship Game.
Local sports media say: The Badgers will do well, but not necessarily
win the B1G Championship Game.

Batten down your hatches. Stock up on canned goods. Take out every form of insurance you own. That time of year has come again, when I quote the fine poetry of Bocephus himself: Are you ready for some footbaaaallll?!?!?! (since Hank ain’t doing it anymore on Monday Night Football, someone’s gotta get the party started).

The nation’s number-one sport is returning to fields across our land. Even with newfound concerns over the safety of the sport (as detailed in my column from early this year), the popularity of football is still at its all-time peak.  We watch NFL-everything on ESPN and squeeze in football topics year-round on the radio, with an insatiable thirst for gridiron knowledge.

We watch NFL-everything on ESPN and squeeze in football topics year-round on the radio, with an insatiable thirst for gridiron knowledge.

Since knowledge is power, and with my background as an education major and former teacher, I decided a good approach would be to get you fully-informed on what to expect in the upcoming season.  Thus, I premiere the Athletic Aesthetic Chippewa Valley Sports Media Football Survey.  I sent a series of questions to members of the sports media in our area to get their predictions and observations on the coming months of football.  I received responses from pretty much all the major media entities in the metro area, and decided to keep the responses anonymous to get the best-possible opinions.

What will happen in the 2012 football season?  Read-away:

NFL:  The Survey thinks the Green Bay Packers are in for another good season, with a bit of a tail-off to 13-3 and a first-place finish in the NFC North, and a consensus return to at least the NFC Championship Game, with most expecting a trip to the Super Bowl in New Orleans.  Generally the respondents liked Aaron Rodgers’s chances for another MVP award, though one noted the MVP voters tend to dislike giving the award to the same player in consecutive seasons.

B1G (a.k.a. the Big Ten):  The Survey is giving the Badgers only about two losses and a first-place finish in the Leaders Division; considering their toughest rivals Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible for postseason play, this result is almost by default. The Survey is mixed on Bucky winning the B1G Championship Game, and predicts them either returning to the Rose Bowl or one of those central Florida bowls (Outback or Capital One).  Monte Ball is a Heisman favorite, but one respondent said to look out for two other running backs:  James White and, especially, Melvin Gordon.

WIAC:  Whitewater is the behemoth of Division III WIAC football, and 2012 should be more of the same, with the Survey giving the Warhawks another WIAC crown and likely another NCAA D-III title. However, the Blugolds should continue their rise in the conference with the general expectation of a second-place finish and a D-III playoff appearance – potentially to the second round according to some respondents – while Stout should be in the middle of the pack.

Big Rivers Conference:  Hudson or Menomonie are the Survey picks to win the BRC, with Memorial likely third, Chi-Hi or Rice Lake in fourth or fifth and North at or next to the bottom of the standings, though no one expects a BRC team to go to state. What Survey respondents did note was the suspension of nine Menomonie players due to use of a banned performance-enhancer. One credited the presence of coach Joe La Buda with keeping the team from dipping too much in quality, while another pointed out that the early-season replacements will gain extra experience that could help the Mustangs later in the year.

Other High School Football: As one Survey member stated, picking high school football is more difficult – near-impossible, really – as you get away from the state powerhouses. However, if you absolutely need to know what to watch for, the Survey leans towards Colby taking the Cloverbelt (though some think Eau Claire Regis could take the crown), Bloomer topping the Heart O’ North and Somerset winning the Middle Border Conference. We might see Somerset, Colby or Clayton at Camp Randall this November.

That’s what The Survey says for 2012 football;  a big “thank you” to all who participated. Now, get all your rowdy friends to come over and let’s see what happens.