Yes, Wisconsin lines up behind a hulking offensive line whose aim is to grind defenses into subatomic particles, and which paved the way for Montee Ball's incredible 38 TDs this season—one shy of Barry Sanders's alltime FBS record for a single year. But these are not your father's Badgers. "Adding [quarterback] Russell Wilson to the mix," says Kelly, forces defenses to focus on more than just stopping the run. "If you do, then [receivers Nick] Toon and [Jared] Abbrederis will beat you."
While it does smashmouth very well, this Badgers attack is creative and unpredictable, says Kelly, who points out that Ball has thrown one TD this season and that Wilson has caught three passes. "They're going to attack you, they're going to stretch you," says the Ducks' coach. "There's not one phase of their game you can gang up on." Yes, the Badgers are formidable, he went on, "But when you're in a BCS bowl game, no one's getting a patsy."
Ideally, no. That assumption is based on the premise that the people running the bowls are interested in fielding the best teams rather than the programs whose fans travel in the most prolific numbers. By passing over top 10 teams to invite Michigan and Virginia Tech, the Sugar Bowl devalued itself and further debased the BCS.
"We were shocked ourselves" by the Sugar Bowl invite, admits David Wilson, the Hokies' stud running back, who needed 61 yards going into the ACC title game against Clemson to break the school's single-season rushing record. He eked out just 32 yards on a season-low 11 carries, then questioned his team's play calling after the 38--10 loss, Tech's second 20-point drubbing of the season to the Tigers. "I wasn't frustrated so much as disappointed," he said last Friday. "That wasn't us, that wasn't Virginia Tech football."
Whatever it was, there's a national consensus that it doesn't deserve a spot in the Sugar Bowl—not while seventh-ranked Boise State, a team that opened its season with a win over SEC East champ Georgia, returns to the humble Maaco Bowl Las Vegas for the second straight season.
"I was looking at some of the blogs, some of things people were saying about us," says Virginia Tech right guard Jaymes Brooks. "It's like, Wow, they really hated us being picked. Can't do anything about it now. We just really want to go out and win so we can get the taste out of our mouth from the Clemson game."
Brooks spoke to SI on the phone on Friday, a day after Virginia Tech police officer Deriek Crouse was shot on campus by a man who then killed himself. "Five children lost their dad yesterday," said Brooks. "Sometimes you gotta remember there's life outside of football."
Like so many offensive linemen, Brooks is wise. He reminds us that as worked up as people may get over the slights and injustices perpetrated by the BCS system, it all takes place in the toy department of life. Sometimes you've just got to set your anger aside, pull on your Superman socks and enjoy the games.