Wisconsin QB Stave done for the season; Big Ten’s problems continue to mount

Dr. Saturday

Wisconsin is almost certainly going to play in the Big Ten Championship Game. Indiana is 1-3, and the Hoosiers are the second-best eligible team in the Leaders Division. Wisconsin is 3-2, behind Ohio State and Penn State, who won't play in the postseason because of NCAA sanctions.

The Badgers were disappointing at the start of the season, but started to play better once freshman Joel Stave took over as the team's starting quarterback. But now Stave is out for the rest of the season with a broken collarbone.

So Wisconsin has been average at best without Stave this season, yet there is a great likelihood it will be part of the Big Ten's biggest showcase of the season, the title game in Indianapolis. Or, Indiana will be involved instead if the Badgers bottom out down the stretch.

That sums up the Big Ten's disappointing season pretty well.

Stave broke his collarbone against Michigan State. The Badgers led 7-3 when he was hurt. Wisconsin scored two field goals the rest of the game - one on a drive that lost 3 yards following a turnover, and another that lost 1 yard to start overtime. That shouldn't be much of a surprise considering that's what Wisconsin's offense has looked like all year without Stave. Danny O'Brien, a Maryland transfer who has been ineffective this season, and Curt Phillips, who hasn't thrown a college pass since 12 attempts in 2009, will battle to be the starter.

Stave apparently was 10.5 pounds at birth and doctors needed to break his collarbone to deliver him, then he injured the collarbone again in grade school, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Stave won't need surgery on his latest collarbone injury, but will need eight weeks to recover.

That's painful. It's also painful for the Wisconsin offense. And it's really painful for the Big Ten, which hasn't had much good news this season.

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