The Voice: Most impressive record? That's up for debate

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgFor Badgers fans, it has the makings of a fun debate. What is more impressive, Ron Dayne's NCAA rushing record, or Montee Ball being on the brink of the NCAA record for touchdowns?  

Going into Saturday's final home game against Ohio State, Ball has reached the end zone 77 times. Former Miami University star Travis Prentice holds the mark with 78, set between 1996-99. Along the way this fall, Ball has passed the likes of Mr. Dayne, as well as Cedric Benson and Ricky Williams, among others.

When the senior from Wentzville, Mo., takes the field on Saturday, Ball will be making his 29th career start. In other words, Ball has done most of his work in what amounts to two-and-a-half seasons.

Two years ago, when the Badgers beat then-No. 1 Ohio State, Ball had as many carries as you did -- none. For a brief time, he thought maybe he should move to linebacker.

I think this running back thing has turned out reasonably well for him.

This is an exciting time for Ball and his teammates. If Montee can break the record against the Buckeyes, great. If it happens next week, that's OK too. If it happens, fans and everyone else should appreciate Ball's amazing statistics that he put together in such a short period of time.

However, before I automatically say one NCAA record is better than the other, it is worth reminding ourselves when Ron Dayne was on the field, everyone in the stadium knew who was getting the football.

In the "Dayne Era," the Badgers were very much a running team. In Dayne's years, the most passing yards the Badgers produced was 2,042 in 1997. In Ball's time, the fewest yards through the air was in 2010, when Scott Tolzien and company threw for 2,593.

Last year, with Russell Wilson working his magic, the Badgers passed for 3,280 yards.

My point here is that, by and large, the UW offense has been much more balanced. Maybe not as much this season, but overall, during Montee's time, opposing defenses had to be quite concerned about the passing game.

When Ron played, it seemed as though the Badgers could publically announce -- "Hey (name the opponent), we are giving the ball to Ron, and he's going to run this way. Try to stop him." Probably not quite that simple, but you get the idea.

Also, keep in mind that in several games, Barry Alvarez pulled Dayne fairly early. It is not unreasonable to believe that Dayne could have added another 1,000 to 1,500 yards to his final rushing total.

The bottom line is both records are phenomenal, and both are individual marks requiring special performances from teammates. Dayne and Ball are both quick to credit their offensive lineman and everyone else who helped pave the way.

No doubt Ohio State has other ideas, but in a perfect world for Bucky Backers, Ball breaks the record on a game-winning score. Then UW fans can celebrate and further discuss which record is better.

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Now a quick note about a couple of early season basketball games where organizers had their hearts in the right place, but maybe needed a little better planning.

Last Friday, Ohio State and Marquette were scheduled to play on the deck of the USS Yorktown in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. Because of too much condensation on the floor, the game never started.

Also on Friday, the USS Bataan was the venue for the Florida-Georgetown tilt. They played one half, but because the floor became too slippery, so there was no second half.

Saluting the men and women of the armed forces via some college basketball games is a great idea, but maybe playing the games on big boats should be reconsidered.

Bo Ryan, at one time a sergeant in the United States Army, would love to play a game on an army base.

"Sergeant Ryan could coach the Badgers, against, well, maybe (Duke coach Mike) Krzyzewski," said the Badgers' boss. Krzyzewski was in the U.S. Army from 1969-74. Ryan served two years. I am guessing the number of Division I basketball coaches with military service would make for a short list.

Ryan has no interest in playing on boats, but hopefully at some point Bo can get his wish and honor the brave men and women who serve our country. Just make sure they play the game in a real gym.
ON WISCONSIN