Monday, December 17, 2012

Top 10 Wisconsin Sports Moments of 2012

I got the idea of doing this blog this past December when ESPN showed a Top 10 of sporting moments of the year. So, giving it a little twist, I've compiled 14 or so moments over the year and will list what I feel are the Top 10. I challenged my Twitter followers to select one of their own, which would be featured on the list as well. But first, let's start with a few honorable mentions.

Honorable Mention - Brewers' Mike Fiers near Perfect Game vs. Cincinnati Reds. Mike Fiers took a perfect game into the seventh inning to lead the Brewers to a 3-1 win over the Reds. Fiers retired the first 18 batters until Zack Cozart doubled to left-center leading off the 7th inning. The only other hits Fiers gave up were 8th inning singles to Xavier Paul and Ryan Hanigan. I remember being at Quaker Steak and Lube in New Berlin, WI for this game because none of us were exactly into the game that much. We were more focused on the All-You-Can-Eat wings at that moment. It wasn't until we all got ESPN Mobile updates alerting us of Fiers perfect game where we started to really pay attention. It was a fantastic moment for the Brewers, and for their fans. It's reassuring when a young guy can do that early in their careers. Make you appreciate the work and players we have in our minor league system. (Source: AP)

Honorable Mention - Rob Wilson scores 30 vs. Indiana Hoosiers in Big Ten Tournament. Rob Wilson, 6'4" senior guard from Cleveland, Ohio, had been averaging 3.1 points per game and had made just 15 of 43 three-pointers on the season. Wilson hit 7 of 10 three-pointers to tie the school record for threes made in a game and hit 11 of 16 shots overall en route to a college career-high of 30 points. To break up his performance, Wilson scored 10 points, on 4-of-7 shooting, in 14 minutes to help the Badgers build a 36-31 halftime lead. He hit 5 of 7 three-pointers and 7 of 9 shots overall in the second half to frustrate the Hoosiers, who trailed for the final 35:07, after Wilson buried a three-pointer to give the Badgers a 14-13 lead. The Badgers went on to lose in the next round vs. Michigan State. MSU defeated Ohio State in the championship game 68-64. (Source: JS Online)

Honorable Mention - The Green Bay Packers sign free agent running back Cedric Benson. Before signing with the Packers, Benson, a 5'11", 227-pound eighth-year player out of Texas, spent the past four seasons (2008-11) with Cincinnati, where he led the Bengals in rushing each season. The Packers got almost 2 months out of him before he suffered a Lisfranc injury to his foot, which ended his 2012 season. (Source:

Honorable Mention - Milwaukee Bucks trade Bogut, Jackson for Ellis, Udoh, and Brown. The biggest shock of this trade was the Bucks parting ways with Andrew Bogut, who was their #1 overall pick in 2005. Bogut was claimed by injuries year after year, and the Bucks were finally tired of it and moved onto greener pastures. The lesser surprise was the Bucks sending Stephen Jackson with Bogut. Bringing in Jackson during the 2011 offseason was a huge move fore Milwaukee, but it quickly became apparent that this potential "match made in heaven" was on a quick path to divorce. In return, the Bucks got two really good players. each of which excel at their specific trade. Ellis is a scoring machine, which was something the Bucks had lacked since the likes of Ray Allen and Michael Redd departed. Udoh gave us some height on defense which we also lacked. I remember being very optimistic about this trade saying it was a good move and I was into a very heated debate with one gentleman in particular. To sum it up, he thought trading Bogut was an awful move and the Bucks management of the team was at a new low. Present day, Bogut is out for the rest of the season for the Warriors.

Those were all great moments, but I just didn't see them as Top 10 material. Below is the Top 10 moments from this past year of Wisconsin sports.

Number 10 - Aaron Rodgers throws 6 touchdowns vs. Houston Texans. Rodgers completed 24 of 37 passes for 338 yards. He tied Matt Flynn's game record for TD passes, set in last year's regular-season finale against Detroit with Rodgers resting on the sideline in advance of the playoffs. Jordy Nelson caught three touchdown passes and James Jones had two, including a diving one-handed catch in the fourth quarter for the Packer. Tom Crabtree caught the other, which was a 48 yard pass play. Coming into the game, the Packers were 3-3 on the season and were looking for go for 2 wins in a row for the first time of the season. No one was really giving Green Bay a chance to win the game, but as we all know, that's when we play at our best. And boy did it show. (Source: Fox Sports)

Number 9 - Ryan Braun's 4-5, 3 HR night vs. Padres.

Number 8 - Larry Sanders' Triple-Double vs. Minnesota Timberwolves. Even though the numbers don't seem to be that impressive, the way Sanders got his triple-double was the impressive part. Sanders finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and a team-record 10 blocks. This was Sanders' first career triple-double. In doing so he tied the team record for blocks in a game, a record held by Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That is a pretty elite name to be associated with, which is why this moment is monumental and special. Joking after the game, Sanders said his most impressive stat was his 2 personal fouls, as he is otherwise in foul trouble late in games. (Source: Fox Sports)

Number 7 - Barry Alvarez will coach the Rose Bowl in place of the departed Bret Bielema. [Submitted by follower Adam Bayer (@ABayer2)] When Bret Bielema left the football program just hours after winning the Big Ten Championship game against Nebraska, a decision had to be made on who would wear the headset for the Badgers for the Rose Bowl. Before the decision was made, however, Wisconsin fans started buzzing about the possibility. The Badgers' team captains had the same thought. After the team captains asked Alvarez to come back for the Rose Bowl, Alvarez said he would and would be honored to do so, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Alvarez knew the program he built needed him back, if just for one big game. He was never going to turn his back on that call for help. As for the money he will/could make for this game, I really think Barry is the kind of guy that would donate his bowl winnings to charity. At least, I hope so. (Source: Yahoo Sports)

Number 6 - Brewers trade Zack Greinke to the Angels. The Brewers traded Greinke to the Angels for a trio of prospects. They acquired shortstop Jean Segura, and right-handers John Hellweg and Ariel Pena. The move was all but expected, just because the Brewers figured they weren't going to have a chance to sign him in the off season because of the amount of money Greinke eventually signed for. Also, there was little hope at the time that the Brewers would make the postseason. Although it was a short-lived tenure, having Zack Greinke in our organization was a true blessing, as I see him as one of the, if not the smartest pitcher in the game. (Source: McCalvy)

Number 5 - Montee Ball breaks the NCAA touchdown record vs. Penn State. Montee Ball broke the all-time career touchdown record in FBS college football. Ball rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown in Wisconsin’s 24-21 overtime loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions. Ball’s 17-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was the 79th of his career, breaking the 13-year-old record set by Miami (Ohio) running back Travis Prentice in 1999. On his way into the record books Ball passed former All-American running backs like Marshall Faulk, Ron Dayne, Cedric Benson and Ricky Williams. Ball would go on to win the Doak Walker Award at the College Football Awards Ceremony.

Number 4 - The Immaculate Touchception.

Number 3 - Wisconsin Badgers rout #12 Nebraska Cornhuskers in Big Ten Championship game. The Badgers went into this game with a lackluster 7-5 record, and many didn't even give the Badgers a chance to even make this a game. In the defense of the Badgers, grouping the 5 losses together, the Badgers lost by a combined 19 points and 3 of the 5 losses came in overtime. In the game, the Badgers stuck to what has lead them to their success in the past. The Badgers ran the ball for 539 yards on 50 attempts. The Badgers only passed the ball 10 times, completing 8 of the passes, which all came in the 1st half. The Badgers had a 14-0 lead 3 minutes into the game, and never really looked back. The Badgers won 70-31, sending them to Pasadena for their third Rose Bowl appearance in as many years. (Source: ESPN)

Number 2 - The Green Bay Packers win the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers connected with James Jones on all three touchdowns, Clay Matthews continued his dominance of Jay Cutler with two more sacks and Green Bay clinched its second consecutive NFC North title with a 21-13 victory over the archrival Chicago Bears on Sunday. After starting the season 2-3, the Packers are showing signs they might have a run in them like the one that carried them to the Super Bowl title two years ago. They have assured themselves of a home playoff game and, at 10-4, are still in the running for the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Needless to say, the Packers have sure come a long way this year, between all the controversy to start the season as well as the injuries the team has endured throughout. (Source:

Number 1 - Exonerated: February 23rd, 2012. This day from now on will be referred to as "Braunukah", as fellow follower @Enrico_Palazzo_ suggested I call it. He named the holiday, so I came up with the rules. Every February 23rd, you exchange gifts with your favorite Brewers fans and the gifts have to be wrapped in a FedEx box. Anyways, we all know the importance of this day, so I will leave you the speech that Ryan delivered during Spring Training.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

-Andrew Vrchota (@AndrewVrchota)

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