Do you consider the 8-6 record (2-6 Big Ten) a success, a failure or somewhere in between?
Evan Cohen: That's a tricky question. When you look at an 8-6 record on April 19, 2002 that's a major disappointment. When you see 8-6 on April 21, 2002 (following Lee Evans¹ injury), that's about where they should be but having won every non-conference game and having been in games with the national champs and at Ann Arbor I would say it's a disappointment. The only time you really saw this team kick in that extra gear the entire season was against Minnesota and Colorado.
Dave Dexter: I think you have to look at non-conference and conference play. Coming into the year, I don't think anybody expected UW to go 5-0 with Fresno State, West Virginia and Arizona on the schedule. But nobody expected them to lose 75 percent of their conference games either, especially after the fantastic start. And if you factor in the Colorado game, I think the end
product was about on par with this team's talent -- although, the path they took to arrive at that end was anything but ordinary.
Cary Dohman: With a 5-0 start and the expectations of Evans¹ return, an 8-6 final record is nothing but a failure. In the Big Ten the Badgers found every way to lose a close football game from blown coverage, to untimely turnovers, to poor defense. The only success that can be taken from an 8-6 record is those two final victories. The Minnesota game saw a Wisconsin running attack at its best (more than 400 yards on the ground) and the Alamo Bowl was one of the greatest wins for this program since the Rose Bowl.
Arvind Gopalratnam: The 8-6 record should be considered somewhere between a success and a failure. It¹s difficult to say the Badgers were utterly awful, due to the fact UW made it to a bowl game and won. Although the team carried moderate success on the field, the off-the-field antics of the players clearly created a dark cloud that shadowed over the team. Whether or not this correlated into the repetitious negative play on the field, it¹s hard to say. But it¹s evident the focus of the players was lacking during the eight conference games. For many fans, expectations are extremely high each year, but it¹s important to remember no team can finish above .500 every year. The 2002 team fits in the middle between a successful and failing team. They were good at stretches and horrible during stretches and in the end, just mediocre.
Ronny Whitworth: I¹d have to say somewhere in between. My prediction for this team was 9-4 for the regular season, and it was two games off that pace. Yet a landmark victory in the Alamo Bowl helps make that 8-6 finish look a whole lot better. The only thing I was disappointed with was that the Badgers didn¹t pull off a few more Big Ten games. Giving up the 19-point lead at Indiana was inexcusable, and the Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan games were 1-2 plays away from going the other way. I think this season provides a nice foundation for what I anticipate to be a very successful campaign in 2003.
Look for an extended edition of the Badger Nation Roundtable in the February 2003 edition of Badger Nation Magazine.
Badger Nation Roundtable: 2002 Record
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