- Oct 8, 2011
- Reaction score
I totally agree with the B grade.I went with a B. Was wavering between B and C. This Wisconsin game was obviously huge. A 7-5 season with no trophies is a very unimpressive season (especially if you don't win any trophies). 7-5 was matched or exceeded by Mason in 3 of his last 5 years before being fired, matched by Brewster in a 3.5 year tenure that was thought to be one of the worst in recent memory, and exceeded in 3 of the 4 years before Fleck took over. Being 8-4 and having one of those wins be Wisconsin makes it feel a lot better, but the fact that we were two awful performances at home against bad teams away from being 10-2, it's definitely closer to a C than an A.
You can say that this was better than a lot of recent seasons, but I'll note that 8 wins or better has been our regular season record in 5 of our last 9 seasons (5 of our last 8 if you exclude the COVID year where we didn't even play 8 games). For me to give an A, we would have needed to be packing for a trip to Indy, hold both Floyd and the Axe, or have a 10 wins season where we get edged for Indy (like 2019). Going back to 2006 when I started college, this team has seen a lot of Cs, Ds, and Fs, and the only A in that stretch was 2019.
But a few distinction that should be made about the 8 wins in 2021 vs. some of the other recent 8 win seasons are:
1. Season isn't over so 9 wins is still very much on the table
2. 6 of the 8 Wins were Big Ten games.
It is great to see though that winning at least 8 games is becoming a baseline for the program. Prior to 2012, 8 win seasons were not very common (Mason had a couple and that was about it during the modern era of 11 or 12 game seasons). So for the team to win at least 8 games in 5 of the last 8 full seasons shows that the team is on a solid footing and now just needs to take that next step up to true contender status.
13-5 in the last two full Big ten seasons is still the thing that stands out the most to me. You have to go back a long way to find a 2 season Big Ten Winning percentage like that (1967-68), heck even if you expand it to 2 of 3 seasons you can't find a comparable winning percentage without going back to the 60s.