first_imgA new year and new opponents await the University of Wisconsin football team, and many critics are saying this year is going to be a walk in the park for the Badgers.Many people, however, seem to have forgotten that nothing ever seems to come easily for this Wisconsin team. Starting off the season with the departures of some of the most talented players and injuries already plaguing this team, this year seems like it is going to be a bit of a struggle for UW.Football: Jack Cichy to miss 2017 seasonThe University of Wisconsin Athletic Department announced Thursday morning senior Jack Cichy will miss the 2017 season due to a Read…The problemsFor starters, there are not that many games against any of the major Big Ten East teams. With Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State all missing from this year’s schedule, the Badgers are not going to get much quality experience from the Big Ten East.This experience is necessary for the Badgers if they want to make it back to the Big Ten tournament this year — and win. With so many power schools missing from this year’s schedule, Wisconsin will find themselves going into Indianapolis this year with little practical experience against the team they will be facing.One of the other problems is their opening, non-conference schedule. The Badgers are facing three relatively inexperienced schools who will offer little to no insight on UW’s weaknesses. Schools like Florida Atlantic, who the Badgers will play Sept. 9th, will most likely be a walk in the park.Football preview: What to expect from the Badgers this seasonThe University of Wisconsin football team enters the 2017 season with high expectations and hopes of replicating, or even exceeding, Read…This does not help when you consider that after these three games, Wisconsin will face Northwestern in their first Big Ten game of the season. Northwestern has an even better non-conference schedule than Wisconsin, playing Bowling Green, Duke and Nevada within the first three weeks of play — which will help them in the long run.This means that the Badgers will have to fix their mistakes immediately if they want to keep their Big Ten record competitive enough to ensure their spot at the Big Ten Championship game. That kind of pressure could be suffocating for the team, and it means that one small mistake could be a disaster for this teamThe benefitsSince Wisconsin doesn’t see much of the Big Ten East, that also means they will save their record from some potential losses. Not seeing schools like Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State means Wisconsin will not have to worry so much week to week about their record and their standings within the Big Ten.Another benefit of not seeing the Big Ten East as much this year is that it lowers the chances of injuries happening. Schools like Penn State and Ohio State tend to be aggressive defensively, which can lead to injuries. Injuries like these, which tend to happens late in the season, can be devastating when proceeding into the later part of December.The worst part of the schedule The last two weeks of the regular season are probably the toughest for Wisconsin. The Badgers will close out their home season run against Michigan, which is arguably one of the best teams in the Big Ten. While this game does take place in Camp Randall, it also means that the Badgers could end their season on a bad note while home.The next weekend of the schedule is not much better, with Wisconsin heading to Minneapolis to take on Minnesota. Typically, the Battle for the Axe is an intense game to begin with, but taking on the Gophers at home is going to be one of the more tougher games this season.Football: Chryst’s 100th win begins slowly, develops momentum in second halfWhile the first game of the season might have resulted in a win, the University of Wisconsin football team definitely Read…Wisconsin is looking at taking the Axe home for the thirteenth year, and taking on the Gophers in the heart of TCF Bank stadium is one of the hardest challenges known to Badger football.After those two games, the Badgers hope to head into the Big Ten Conference game, which will hopefully result in the Badgers heading to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl in January.What the Badgers are sayingJazz Peavy“We are in the Big Ten, and it’s not like we’re second class to any division in this league. Any game is a game that we have to prepare for. Nothing is ever going to come easy to us.”Sarah Godfrey/The Badger HeraldChris James“The Big Ten, overall, is well-rounded. Even a 3-10 team can compete [against the best teams]. This is a tough division. The east division is extremely tough, with Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State all in the same division. Ohio State and Michigan used to play in the Big Ten championship game, but now they can’t. Those match-ups cause a lot of ruckus and a lot of upsets.”Natrell Jamerson“A lot of people doubt our defense, especially after losing so many great players. We feel like our defense is even better than last year. People just doubt our team in general. We’re trying to do a lot more than we did last year.”last_img read more


first_img The Super Eagles could do more by turning set pieces into victory songs, writes Ikechukwu James“So, your prediction about the Super Eagles came to pass!”“I gave no prediction about the Eagles. I only made an objective and empirical analysis and came to the logical conclusion.” “They did crash out at the very First Round as you said. But most of the analysts thought Nigeria would do well in Russia, at least Second Round or Quarter Final. Some even didn’t rule out a Semi-Final or appearance at the Final!”“What should we do now to those analysts? They did give Nigerians a false hope?”“We should lock them up.  After all a particular country in Europe attempted to jail its scientists for poor analysis of a potential earthquake.”“It’s clear they’ve burnt their fingers again. Unfortunately, if they don’t learn from this, they will lead the nation astray the next time.”“The good thing is that no one can blame the President for the poor results at Russia 2018.”“Indeed, under the present administration, they got unprecedented support. ‘Unprecedented’, in its true meaning, not the hackneyed use by politicians.”“No problem of match bonus, squabble over allowances or even players quarrelling with one another, as often the case in the past.”“The winning bonus was even increased from 10,000 Pounds to 15,000 Pounds at a time!”“The government did more than enough and the administration deserves all plaudits for that. But those players cannot give what they don’t have, as you pointed out before they departed the shores of this country to Russia”“Yes, most of these players don’t get a good deal when they move to European clubs. Hence they have no good opportunity to develop their soccer talent and play in the top teams in Europe. Sitting on the bench or being on loan from time to time isn’t the best for our players.”“That’s true. I often wonder the role of the Nigeria Football Federation on this. The president can’t leave the most important affairs of government to come help you manage these boys.”“Have you asked why they don’t play in Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Juventus, Napoli, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and so on? I think most of these players are average, and we need to accept that reality. Of course, they can improve with time.”“Yes, it’s not enough to say you play in the English Premier League, do you play for the top teams?”“But my major gripe with the Super Eagles’ managers and NFF over the years has to do with how the players waste set pieces – free kicks, corners, etc. It is most disturbing.” “Yes, I know you worry a lot over this for many lamentable years. You did write about this after the Nations Cup, tagged Ghana 2008. Unfortunately, the players continue to squander set pieces while other countries maximise theirs to coast home to victory.”“Of course, I remember my points then. ‘Although the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are hated world over for their rough tackles, we must not close our eyes on the sense of urgency with wish they played at that Ghana 2008. Every set piece was like a penalty – and that thrilled my heart.’ Just how many corners and free-kicks do Super Eagles usually fling away! What actually do you learn in training if you play 20 corner kicks and 20 free-kicks without threatening a goalkeeper with any? ”“It was the same situation in Russia 2018. The Super Eagles wasted all the corner kicks and free-kicks while other countries benefited from such. Not even one single corner kick moved close to threatening a goal-keeper or caused the spectators to rise in panic or joy of a near goal. It was not good at all. The coach and NFF ought to worry gravely about this. What exactly do you do in training? In the match against Iceland, the Eagles had no single shot on goal for the first 45 minutes. That was shocking to anyone!” “Yes, I watched Germany 2006. Watched Italy, Argentina and others. Set pieces were regarded almost as penalty kicks. So I began to wonder why over the years, Nigeria had not mastered the art of scoring through set pieces. So many goals were scored by great and serious teams through set pieces. We either balloon our free-kicks to the skies or in the hands of the goalkeeper.  Perhaps one out of 200 may threaten a goalie and hit the back of the net! No, it’s damn shameful how the Eagles waste set pieces. How I wish we could learn to do it like Brazil, Italy, Argentina. But we need not go that far; even our own neighbour here, Cameroon, had mastered the art of turning set pieces into victory songs. Did we see how Ghana edged out Morocco and steamrollered their ambition of proceeding further in the competition through set pieces in Ghana 2008 Nations Cup? Look at that free-kick that Michael Essien converted into a TV goal! That, like the commentator remarked, only happens in training. That is the product of training. But when you claimed you had a wonderful training but on the big occasion, you throw away free-kicks and corners, what should we make of that? And I have to calm my anger at this stage.”“Really, it’s unfortunate Nigeria couldn’t go far at the ongoing World Cup. Some small businesses will surely be affected, especially the Match Viewing Centres. You know enthusiasm will wane once Eagles are no longer in the competition.”“I did enjoy some of the meals served at one of the Viewing Centres, especially the Ofada Rice.”“I used to like the rice. But I had to give it up because of the stress my wife used to go through in picking out the stones before cooking.”“I didn’t see a single grain of stone in the one I ate at that Viewing Centre and I was told it was the Ofada Rice produced by the Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture. As a matter of fact, I went to buy a bag after that restaurant experience. The name is MITROS Ofada Rice and you can buy a bag as low as N2,500. So nutritious and not a single grain of stone can be found in it.”“I guess that was the one launched last December by the Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun. The man is really trying.”“I think so. A lot of people like Ofada. Buhari is really determined with this rice matter. But let’s hope the Eagles, the coach and NFF will absorb the lessons of Russia 2018 and perform better at the next tournament! They need to do something better with set pieces. We need to be scientific with the way we play soccer. Football has become a science.”James, a sport enthusiast and social commentator, wrote from LagosShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more