UW Health Sports Medicine 

'The Voice' with Matt Lepay

If you are a Badger fan still splitting a gut from laughing after Minnesota lost to South Dakota last Saturday, consider this a friendly heads-up -- the Coyotes come to Madison next September.

When an FCS team knocks off an FBS squad, my first reaction is to wonder how many seniors start for the underdog.  South Dakota has three, and none of them is the quarterback who accounted for five touchdowns against the Gophs.  By the way, the defensive line and special teams coach is Jake Sprague, who played for the Badgers from 1998-2002.

Suddenly, the urge to fire off a few cheap shots at Gopher fans is quickly fading. South Dakota plays in the Great West Conference. Cal Poly has a football team in the Great West Conference. Remember Cal Poly?

Next week the Badgers host Austin Peay, an Ohio Valley Conference team that also has Jacksonville State as a member. Do you know anything about Jacksonville State? If not, ask an Ole Miss fan.

I wonder how many college football fans knew that James Madison even had a football program. Ask a Virginia Tech fan about James Madison. A little more than a week ago, many folks who cover college football were talking about Virginia Tech as being a national championship contender. A loss to Boise State last Monday, followed by the setback five days later to an FCS opponent, and those title thoughts are long gone.

Virginia Tech's loss brings to mind something Barry Alvarez used to talk about--"Never let a team beat you twice." One has to wonder whether the Hokies were still reeling a bit after a thrilling, yet heartbreaking game against Boise State just a few nights earlier.

Ever since Appalachian State stunned Michigan in 2007, should we really be so caught off guard at a similar result? No, but we tend to be guilty as charged.

To be perfectly honest, I gave little if any thought to the possibility that Minnesota would lose at home.  I figured the Gophers might have been in trouble the previous week when they played at Middle Tennessee State (a team with former Badger assistants John Palermo and Randall McCray on the coaching staff), but when they made it through that road trip with a win, I made the reckless assumption that they would be fine for at least another game. It is another reason why one should never assume.

The Badgers' first two games provide even further proof why one should never assume. The bottom line is they won, but they have looked less than overwhelming in the process.

On paper, most of us figured the games with UNLV and San Jose State would be mismatches.  The Badgers handed the Rebels two touchdowns, but still controlled the game and won handily. They never were in serious danger of losing to San Jose State, but the statistics were not quite as one-sided as they were in week one.

I have always wondered how difficult it can be for players the week leading up to games against teams they are allegedly suppose to beat by 30-40 points. Coaches will do what they can to keep the boys humble, but what do they hear from family and friends? How much do they read the newspapers and Internet bloggers?

It is no secret that players like the big stage games. Who wouldn't be excited to play Ohio State or Alabama? It is the games against lesser-known teams that can create a recipe for disaster.

There should be none of that for the Badgers this week. Yes, Arizona State has some question marks, but I am pretty sure everyone around here has heard of the Sun Devils.

I would think the veteran Badger players are familiar with quarterback Steven Threet. He is the former Michigan QB who led the Wolverines from a 19-point deficit to shock Wisconsin two years ago in Ann Arbor.

This week motivation should be no problem. It is the following week that merits watching.

Now if you will forgive me, I am going to go easy on ragging Minnesota. I have seen too many of these games to believe there is very much to laugh about.