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Closing Arguments 2021: Wisconsin Badgers

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Who else but Wisconsin could win the West this year?

Jack Sanborn is ready for you to know the UW defense is for real.

I. Case History and Opening Statement

Paul Chryst won 52 games his first five years at Wisconsin (10.4/yr) with a low of eight. He built on a solid foundation and has established the Badgers as a consistently very good team, and the benchmark of the B1G West.

Opposing counsel: Objection!!!

Exasperated judge: We’ve been through this counselor. I know you don’t like my decision, but my ruling stands. Evidence of a 2020 “season” is stricken from the record and Badger counsel can proceed.

Thank you, your honor. There has been plenty of turnover from UW’s 2019 division-championship team, and UW had a down year the last time they defended the West crown in 2018. However there is reason to think this year’s Badgers are better positioned to have a big year than the 2018 squad. [Opposing counsel sighs, turns to gallery and subtly shrugs shoulders at clearly irate MNW.]

A. Case History

As already alluded, Paul Chryst has established a level of performance that is the envy of every other B1G West school. He is 52-16 over his first five years, with three division championships. Of the 16 losses, 11 were to teams that posted double-digit wins, two other were to teams that won nine games, and the other three were to opponents that made bowls. That’s right. Paul Chyrst has yet to lose to a non-bowl team in his time at UW. [Opposing counsel emits low grumble, looks at crumpled up 2020 UW schedule, sees losses were to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best B1G teams in 2020, and slumps further in seat.]

Now, there is some uncertainty in the backfield. Jalen Berger is a heralded recruit from NJ, but, unlike Jonathan Taylor, he is not built for 20-25 carries a game. However, Clemson transfer Chez Mellusi looks like a worthy part of an RB rotation and Isaac Guerendo should offer some production too. And, unlike the 8-5 nadir in 2018, the QB pecking order seems set with highly-touted Graham Mertz ready to show what he’s capable off.

Judge: Don’t even bother objecting counselor.

Further, I think everyone in the courtroom can agree that there is little concern on the defensive side of the ball. The faces may change, but as long as Jim Leonhard sticks around and the recruiting continues at current levels, there is little concern that UW will have to win too many shootouts.

Finally, through some apparent scheduling vagary, Wisconsin gets to avoid Ryan Field, even thought they haven’t played a meaningful game there since 2018. [Gallery explodes in angry hoots.]

Judge: IN MY CHAMBERS!!!

[***45 minutes later***]

Judge: We will resume. The following stipulations have been agreed to by both parties:

  1. Badger counsel waives remainder of opening statement.
  2. Any discovery documents about to be admitted by this court that reference a 2020 season involving Wisconsin will be admitted in whole without redaction. Members of the jury are free to consider references to this “season.” However the jury is INSTRUCTED that a conclusive presumption exists that Wisconsin’s 2015-2019 performance carries more evidentiary weight than any evidence from the alleged 2020 “season.” In other words, you may review evidence of 2020, but your are prohibited from concluding that it carries more weight than the sum total of 2015-2019 evidence.

Opposing counsel: Your honor...

Judge: What? It got him to waive the rest of his closing, didn’t it? What more do you want? They open with Penn State, who also have been pretty consistently excellent since 2015. [Penn State counsel smiles in gallery, remembering judge’s previous rulings on 2020...] We’ll know soon enough one way or the other. Go ahead and appeal, but the facts on the ground will overtake these proceedings before the ink on it is dry.

Thank you, your honor.

B. Opening Statement

[omitted]

II. Discovery

III. Pending Docket

Untitled

Sat, Sep 4 vs 19 Penn State 12:00 PM
Sat, Sep 4 vs 19 Penn State 12:00 PM
Sat, Sep 11 vsEastern Michigan 7:00 PM
Sat, Sep 18 Idle
Sat, Sep 25 vs 9 Notre Dame * 12:00 PM
Sat, Oct 2 vsMichigan TBD
Sat, Oct 9 @Illinois TBD
Sat, Oct 16 vsArmy TBD
Sat, Oct 23 @Purdue TBD
Sat, Oct 30 vs 18 Iowa 12:00 PM
Sat, Nov 6 @Rutgers TBD
Sat, Nov 13 vsNorthwestern TBD
Sat, Nov 20 vsNebraska TBD
Sat, Nov 27 @Minnesota TBD

IV. Emotional Plea

Emotional Plea? This isn’t TV. Wisconsin football isn’t about emotions. Paul Chryst is not about emotions.

Opposing Counsel: Objection!

Go ahead and sustain it, I’m fine.

Judge: Very well.

Allow me to re-phrase. Coach Chryst is not often that about emotions.

In the cold light of reason, you want a functioning, dependable Wisconsin football team. And you know that UW has earned their status as favorites this year. Wisconsin has had multiple cracks at OSU in the B1G title game and has yet to break through. You may conclude that this means a different team should have a chance. But that chance has to be earned. Who, really, do you think stands ready to earn that chance?

  • It’s not an even year, and Northwestern is replacing too much production.
  • Iowa has expectations, so they’re bound to disappoint.
  • Minnesota might have been a one-year wonder.
  • Illinois is aspiring to be Wisconsin-lite.
  • Purdue hasn’t beaten UW since 2003.
  • Nebraska?

Some alchemy is still required, especially on offense, but there are more good pieces in place than any time in recent history. Chryst and Leonhard have a track record. The time is now to cease being begrudging in your respect for UW and openly embrace the fact that this is a consistent, high floor program.

Expectations in Madison are high, as they should be. And, in conclusion your honor...

[looks down at legal pad, weighs options:

“If we can run till it hurts, then don’t worry about Mertz.”

“There’s nothing to fear, it’s not an even year.”

“No need to yield, we’re not going to Ryan Field.”]

...um...nothing else. We rest, your honor.

V. Verdict

Thank you jurors! Thank you very much!

Poll

Wisconsin in the Big Ten in 2021:

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    3-6 or worse
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    4-5
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    5-4
    (2 votes)
  • 11%
    6-3
    (18 votes)
  • 28%
    7-2
    (44 votes)
  • 35%
    8-1
    (55 votes)
  • 18%
    9-0
    (29 votes)
155 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Wisconsin overall:

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    5-7 or worse
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    6-6
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    7-5
    (1 vote)
  • 4%
    8-4
    (6 votes)
  • 25%
    9-3
    (36 votes)
  • 36%
    10-2
    (52 votes)
  • 15%
    11-1
    (22 votes)
  • 15%
    12-0
    (22 votes)
144 votes total Vote Now