As read in the Barry Alvarez doctrine for success in the Big Ten, a winning team must run the ball with authority — even when all 82,000 people in the stadium know that is exactly what you are going to do. You must recruit any and all talent from Wisconsin — and make sure to pilfer Minnesota while you are at it. Quarterbacks are to be efficient if not spectacular — and all of them must look like wide-eyed freshman no matter what year they are in school. Finally, the best players on your team should be the five hogs up front — and they should be exactly that, 300-plus pound maulers to set the tone for everything else.
For Bielema, he can put a nice big check mark next to each doctrinal decree in 2010.
There is one more Alvarez staple, however, that Bielema is just receiving his first chance to fulfill:
It is not good enough simply to reach the Rose Bowl, a true Badger coach wins the Rose Bowl.
As Barry proved with all three of his victories in the Grandaddy Of Them All, the way to etch your place truly in Wisconsin lore is with the winners ring your bring home, not the consolation prize.
And as Bielema went out of his way to share with the media on the day the Rose Bowl berth was secured, he knows it.
"I have been there once before," Bielema said, referencing his playing days at Iowa. "And I brought that [consolation] ring home and it is somewhere in my closet at home. It is nice and all, but I will never wear it. I will never take it out and put it on."
The season will be viewed as a success no matter what happens today. The Badgers knocked off then-No. 1 team in the country Ohio State for the first time in Bielema's tenure (the student section even showed up on time for the game). They followed up that victory with possibly an even more impressive showing on the road at Iowa. When you have a debate about whether the biggest play of the game was a fake-punt or fourth down passing conversion with Scott Tolzien in an empty back set, you know it was a good day. Throw in a Big Ten record in points against Indiana and embarrassing Michigan and you can close the book as a good story.
But to make it a never-forget ,pick up and wax nostalgic storybook ending, Bielema will once again need to follow in the footsteps of his mentor.
No.3 TCU looms as an excellent opponent — all the better to brag about knocking off an undefeated team. Bielema has maintained a know-it-all attitude through his first five years that has prevented him yet to become a fan favorite. With a Rose Bowl win, however, that "arrogance" quickly transitions to "confidence" in the public mind.
For the players, winning attitudes beget a winning culture. Alvarez reached the Rose Bowl three times in seven years. You don't hear many stories of losing teams returning with a vengeance to Pasadena to take care of unfinished business.
The Badgers have put together their most successful season in a decade. But that doesn't mean they are playing with house money in LA.
Follow the Doctrine de Alvarez, Coach Bielema. It hasn't led you wrong yet.