Q (by Cooker): Just when I thought the Badgers could not get any worse … They are flat. Are they having morale problems with the team?
Polzin: I'm not trying to excuse that first-half performance, but I did wonder aloud a few days ago how much UW has left in its emotional tank after 1) A season not going anything like the Badgers thought it would; 2) Their coach getting fired five games into the season; 3) Losing a teammate in a tragic shooting earlier this week.
That's a lot to process. Now, there's still a lot to play for (the bowl streak), so you'd hope UW would put up a better fight in the second half.
Q (by JEFFRYMILLER): Packers ... who watches them anymore? Badgers ... at the least they are playing a worse team than themselves. Graham is not a good player though. What can they do next year? Get a portal player?
Polzin: UW absolutely has to hit the portal hard for a QB. Even if Graham Mertz returns for a fifth season, there needs to be someone to offer him competition. He hasn't had that the past two seasons.
Q (by dnfolz): The recruit losses and portal exodus threat have to be having a big impact on morale as the HC future is no clearer now than when the change was made.
Polzin: Counterpoint: Shouldn't UW be fighting to make sure their guy (Leonhard) gets the job? They already feel responsible for one guy (Chryst) losing his job. Shouldn't that have been a lesson to never let it happen again?
Q (by KWinMo): Should the Badgers even attempt another pass?
Polzin: I'd like to see UW attempt more high-percentage throws than it did in the first half. That last series was bizarre: Graham Mertz is being asked to throw 20 yards downfield into a stiff wind. Why not run some crossers over the middle?
Q (by TopTeamsHaveMobileQBs): Would you say that Mertz transferring would be a " Mutual decision?"
Polzin: I do wonder whether a fresh start would be good for Mertz. But — and this is a big but — UW can't just let him walk unless it's absolutely certain it can find someone better in the transfer portal. And that's no given.
Playing QB roulette in December and January comes with risks.
Q (by jwojpac): There cannot be a worse option at QB on this roster, roll the dice. Mertz still making inexcusable freshman mistakes
Polzin: I've said this 1,637 times, so why not say it again: The coaches have way more info at their disposal than we do. There are practices, meetings, etc., for them to evaluate the situation and they feel Mertz gives this team the best option to win.
The options are Chase Wolf, who has shown nothing in limited action to suggest he'd be a solution. And the only other scholarship player on the roster is Myles Burkett, a true freshman. I just don't think he's ready for meaningful snaps just yet, and UW would like to redshirt him this season.
Q (by Windsor Will): Coach killer Mertz doesn't have a viable back up? This is on team leadership. Why would a top receiver choose WI?
Polzin: Really, this is as much a Paul Chryst problem as anything and a big reason he no longer has a job. His failure to develop Mertz/have someone ready to compete with Mertz has created a massive problem at QB that is keeping UW from reaching its potential.
HuskerExtra's Sam McKewon: WRs will follow NIL money — a few Nebraska WRs on the team have done that a bit — but the general point is true. Guys who like to catch passes like to know the QB throwing those passes can spin it. It's part of how Purdue got Charlie Jones, who left Iowa.
Photos: Wisconsin football knocks off Nebraska at Memorial Stadium