UW-Madison Football Coach Bret Bielema Should Not Have Run-Up Score Against Indiana

It was not pleasant to see UW-Madison football coach Bret Bielema running up the score on Indiana Saturday afternoon.  In the end the score was 83-20.  That is just plain wrong.  It was very unsportsmanlike!  If indeed one of the reasons we have college sports is to instill values and core foundations within young people, then all was lost in this game on Saturday.   What that game was to have taught young folks is a mystery to all. 

Whatever internal compass guides Bielema needs to be adjusted.  This was not the finest moment…..or anything close to it….for the UW-Madison, or the Badger football team.

In the ideal world I would hope that the Director of Athletics would take the football coach aside and tell him it was not very sportsmanlike or mature what took place at Camp Randall.  But given that Barry Alvarez is the Athletic Director means shame has no heights it can not scale.  Before someone counsels Bielema they need to first counsel Alvarez.

That is the problem at UW-Madison. 

The very way that Bielema was made football coach a few years ago only confirmed that the UW-football program is in need of some ethics.  The appointment of Bielema caused a stir because Alvarez didn’t go through the required process for filling the job.

What we have left are fans, along with folks in the press to convey what many around the state and country are saying in light of the ‘win’ yesterday.   Thumbs down!

Such as in the Wisconsin State Journal.

THUMBS DOWN to Bret Bielema

Granted, the UW coach is in a difficult position of having to impress pollsters to help his team’s Bowl Championship Series credentials. Still, the 83 points seemed excessive. The 74-yard bomb to Jared Abbrederis midway through the fourth quarter to make it 76-13 was piling it on and the excuse Bielema gave of giving backup quarterback Jon Budmayr a chance to pick up a first down was lame.


Bloodthirsty student section — cheering wildly after the 80-point margin was broken — loves versions of video-game football; older fans wonder whatever happened to Barry Alvarez showing compassion for overmatched opponents.


Rolling up big point totals gets noticed — just ask top-ranked Oregon — but there could be some potential backlash to going to this extreme.

I sure as hell hope so.

14 thoughts on “UW-Madison Football Coach Bret Bielema Should Not Have Run-Up Score Against Indiana

  1. RailPro


  2. Anthony

    The ethics of this football game should be considered. I coach little league baseball and I can tell you that in no way would I want or let my kids engage in this type of play. Sportsmanship is something that my generation takes seriously and sadly it seems to be lost on younger people. Running the score up because you can is not a good reason to do so. I think my kids come out of each game having had a good time and with playing fair learn something about life. What happened yesterday was sad to see.

    1. CJ

      So, Captain Sportsmanship, what would you have your young charges do? Stop throwing the ball so hard? Stop throwing out runners? Stop at first base on every hit? Switch to a “bunts-only” offense? Go to the plate without bats? Baloney.

      You’d let your weaker players get more playing time. (Same as Wisconsin.) You’d ask for the very best effort from them. (Same as Wisconsin.) And you’d cheer for them when they performed well. (Same as Wisconsin.)

      If you don’t want to see blowout wins like this, then campaign for a mercy rule in college football. But don’t complain about people playing the game to the best of their abilities within the rules.

      1. A.J.

        I think in a little league baseball game as a coach you would NOT bunt or mix up bunts and hits. I also would not have the kids stealing bases. That’s the equivalent of Bielema’s actions. He got what he wants – a BCS game. There. Be happy it costs his soul to the devil. It’s #1 priority for him. Total lack of class.

  3. So, do you think Bielema should have ordered the 3rd-string quarterback playing in perhaps his only college game to just take a knee and not even try to show his stuff? I’d be criticizing him right with you if he’d kept his starters in, or even the 2nd string. I don’t think it’s fair to the practice squad guys to be ordered to do nothing, though. Harrison Bergeron, anyone?

  4. grumps

    I have to disagree with you. It is not Bielema’s job to stop the Badgers. That task fell to Indiana and Coach Lynch on Saturday. That they, as a Big Ten school were not up to the task is something less than you make it out to be.

    If Bielema leaves in his starters or runs up the score against a D-III school, then we should question his judgement. By allowing almost everyone to have a chance to play in a Big Ten Conference game and asking them to perform as best they knew how he was showing respect for the game and his team, to whom he owes his loyalty and paycheck.

    As to being noticed, Bielema did not create the BCS monster that will judge his team at season’s end but he does have to understand how his actions will affect his chances in the post-season.

  5. Jenny

    I would agree with your article IF the coach kept the first stringers in there. Knowing it was 3rd and 4th string players in, I can’t cry about lack of sportsmanship. More interesting than the game was Bucky Badger’s push-up regiment. I laughed so hard about him going in the locker room and coming out 6 inches taller (aka switching the person in the suit) to do the final batch of push-ups.

    Is it unfortunate to suffer a crushing defeat? Yes. However, the participants in this game are not small children. I hope they would already have learned a lesson or two about guarding their feelings and get over it so they are up and ready to play the next game. It is a GAME. Win or lose, I hope they are all still having fun while it lasts.

  6. Mike S.

    Terrible! There is NOTHING WRONG with what the Badgers did. If anything, blame the BCS idea. If margin of victory didn’t matter, then you may have an argument. Look at the how the BCS is set up before you write such garbage. UW is #7, including knocking off Top 25 Teams. Keep in mind they did NOT move up in the BCS poll with this impressive win. On the otherhand, Ohio State moved UP 2 spots to #9 in the BCS poll. And they HAVE NOT beat any top 25 ranked team. The entire BCS processes is crap. And the Badgers are doing what they need to do to get in the strongest bowl game they can.

  7. Embarrassed IU fan

    As a long suffering IU fan, it was painful to watch another drubbing on Saturday. I will say that the excessive and unacceptable portions were the field goal to go up 62-13 and, more importantly, throwing the ball 40 yards downfield that eventually became a 74 yard TD to go up 76-13. Any impressing the pollsters was already secured at this point. I am not suggesting that the QB take a knee, and if IU couldn’t stop the running game or even short passes, then so be it, but 74 yard touchdowns off of a long pass was too much and should be addressed. The sad thing for me is that IU didn’t respond on the field as many of us old schoolers would come to expect. Lynch never even addressed it then or after the game. It is why IU continues to lag the Big Ten in football except for those few precious Bill Mallory coached teams.

  8. ed palinurus

    Bielema had his starter in the game and throwing TD passes with the score 52-13 and 2:12 left in third quarter. It was an 11 yarder. Then Bilema put in the second string QB, and HE threw a fourth quarter TD — a 74 yarder (it was a 40 yard pass + 34 yard run). And he had his kicker kicking FGs when Wisconsin was leading 59-13. He humiliated Indiana, hoping that the slaughter would deflect pollsters from Wisconsin’s lousy strength of schedule numbers. He is pathetic, and all you Wisconsin homers should be ashamed of him, and yourselves for defending him.

    1. Aaron

      The Wisconsin Badgers won the game so get over it. So what you’re saying after you get so for ahead in a game its time to sat down and let the other take over. If IU is the weaker team they can’t do anything but take a beating. Brett did nothing wrong IU did.

  9. Pingback: Jeff

  10. Walker Hayes

    The difference between running up the score and taunting is, taunting is unrelated to the skill/effort of the game and is rightly banned or discouraged. You play the game to demonstrate skill and effort-win or lose. If the one point difference is related to the skill/effort of the game I’m fine with that too, but a game can be close because both teams played badly.

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