The Voice: Andersen content to let Badgers' actions speak

Voice_Blog_Header_131114.jpg

While the Badgers slowly move up in the BCS rankings, coach Gary Andersen continues to stay above the fray. It is only natural for fans to be concerned, if not angry, at the lack of movement, but do not expect Andersen to publically campaign for more love from those who vote in the coaches and Harris polls.

"Not my style, not my deal," said the Badgers boss during this week's Big Ten coaches teleconference.

Different strokes for different folks. Andersen is extremely consistent in his stance. I asked him that very question a few weeks ago, and his answer was the same.

Maybe stating his team's case is unnecessary. A number of neutral observers, including ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, continue to praise the 7-2 Badgers. Maybe it will make little if any difference, but it never hurts to have a national pundit remind fans and voters that one of those losses will always remain questionable (I'm being as nice as possible here), while the other setback was a one-score game at Ohio State.

If nothing else, it is refreshing to hear Herbstreit and colleague Rece Davis suggest that maybe the Big Ten Conference is better than advertised. Unbeaten Ohio State still needs help, but it is very much in the mix for a shot at the national title. Michigan State plays shutdown defense, and to this point is proving to be a very strong team.

Meanwhile, the Badgers are playing some of their best football. In addition to a high-powered offense, they also have one of the country's top defenses. That defensive group proved it again last week by slowing down a red-hot BYU offense for most of the day.

Another challenge is waiting this Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium. While Indiana has had a world of trouble trying to stop people, the IU offense is one of the best you will see. It is another team that pushes the pace -- to the tune of running a play every 19.3 seconds -- very much like BYU.

Even if fleet-footed running back Tevin Coleman is unable to go because of an ankle injury, the Hoosiers offense is loaded. Fellow RB Stephen Houston averages 7.3 yards per carry, and there are five players with 1,000-plus career receiving yards. It is the first time in league history that five receivers with those stats have played together.

Knowing that, it probably makes sense that Andersen and his team remain focused on preparing for a game, and not on stumping for votes.

*  *  *  *

It was a fun atmosphere Tuesday night for the Badgers basketball team's home opener against Florida. After Wisconsin's 59-53 victory against the Gators, I suggested to one of the players that, with the schedule they have to open the season, it is like jumping into the deep end of the pool.

"But we are swimming," the player responded.

Well played.

The season has just started, but it is encouraging to watch this young group pick off a couple of wins against good teams. Last Friday in Sioux Falls, S.D., Duje Dukan played well off the bench. Tuesday evening, freshman Nigel Hayes gave his team a lift. There has been good scoring balance, and when big shots are needed, the Badgers have made them.

It is way too early to draw any conclusions, but for a team with so many new faces, getting through the first two games is encouraging. Now they head to Green Bay for a Saturday night matchup against the Phoenix, a preseason favorite to win the Horizon League.

Bo Ryan's group will remain in the deep water, but it hopes to keep swimming as a busy month of November continues.
ON WISCONSIN