November 22, 2008

Five things to watch: Cal-Poly

Madison, Wis. - The Wisconsin football team will usher out 15 senior players later this afternoon when the Badgers host the Cal-Poly Mustangs in the regular season finale. With a win, UW will likely be headed south for a bowl game. On the other hand, if Cal-Poly, the No.3 ranked team in the bowl sub-division, were to pull the upset, no post-season birth is guaranteed for the cardinal and white.

The following are five things to watch during UW's final regular season game:

1.) One final hurrah:

When one thinks of the Wisconsin football team, there are certain names that ring a bell. Jonathan Casillas, DeAndre Levy, Allen Langford, Chris Pressley, Kraig Urbik, Matthew Shaughnessy and Travis Beckum come to mind. This Saturday, all of those players, plus eight more will receive a warm welcome from the Camp Randall crowd one final time. Look for a very motivated senior class to go out with a bang in its final four quarters on the home turf.

2.) Who is Cal-Poly?

Oh, they are just the little school from the formerly title D-1AA division, but they pack a big punch. So far, the Mustangs are 8-1 and ranked No. 3 in its division's rankings. As a program, it has developed four players that have been drafted in recent years. And while that is not nearly as impressive as what some D-1 programs churn out year after year, it is still a solid statistic for a small football program. Look for the Mustangs to come in with nothing to lose and give the Badgers its best shot.

3.) Weather conditions:

At kickoff of today's game the temperature in San Luis Obispo, Cal-Poly's hometown, will be a mild 71 degrees. In Madison, temperatures will range from 43 degrees at the start before slipping down to 36 degrees by the end. It is hard to project, and will be interesting to see how the cold weather affects a team from a warm climate.

4.) Fourth time's a charm:

P.J. Hill has found his form over the past three weeks. While the Badgers are 2-1 in those three games, the offense is at its best when the junior rushes for over 100-yards. Against Michigan State three games ago, Hill rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown. Two weeks ago at Indiana, he toppled the 100-yard mark again, that time going for 126 yards and three touchdowns. Finally, against rival Minnesota, Hill rushed for 117 yards and two more touchdowns. Will he be able to cap the final third of the season with another triple-digit rushing performance? We'll soon see.

5.) Fan turnout:

Yes, the season has had its ups and downs for Badger fans. A four-game losing streak early in conference play really put a damper on what was once considered a promising season. But, will it come back to haunt UW in the final regular season game of the year against a never-before-played Cal-Poly team? In Wisconsin, Saturday marks the opening to the deer-hunting season so it will be interesting to see how many people fill the stands later in the afternoon.

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