Wisconsin keeps pedal down in bowl prep

CARSON, Calif. -- Wisconsin ended the regular season as arguably the nation's hottest team.

The Badgers not only won their final seven regular-season games but did so in dominating fashion. They won six of the seven contests by 13 points or more, each of their final four by 20 points or more and exploded for 201 points in their final three games.

A five-week break between the end of the regular season and the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO could be seen as a major buzz kill for a team like Wisconsin. But the Badgers don't view things that way.

"There was a gap?" linebacker Culmer St. Jean asked me during our interview Sunday. "Nah, I really didn't notice the gap."

It helps that the Badgers didn't take their foot off of the gas during the break between games.

Wisconsin had its first-team offense go against its first-team defense for chunks of bowl practices. The Badgers even did a bit of scrimmaging Monday during their workout at the Home Depot Center.

"It's just the way we work," offensive lineman Bill Nagy said. "The way we kept that going was just competing every day in practice. We've got such good talent on both sides of the ball. Going against each other, it's real competitive and that helps us a lot."

Nagy sees similarities between the Badgers' pre-bowl approach and what they did during their bye week in the regular season. Although the open date fell on Oct. 30 and Wisconsin had endured several injuries the previous game against Iowa, the team didn't ease up in practice.

After the bye, Wisconsin outscored its final four opponents by a combined tally of 235-84.

"It's fun," Nagy said of the Badgers' approach. "At first, right after the game, you get a little time off, but then coming back and scrimmaging against each other, it keeps you fresh."