WISCONSIN SPORTS BRIEFS: UW moves up to No. 21 in college football polls
MADISON – The University of Wisconsin football team is ranked at No. 21 in both major national polls released today. The Badgers moved up from 23rd in both pre-season rankings – the AP media poll and the USA Today coaches’ survey.
The Badgers crushed Massachusetts 45-0 on Saturday in coach Gary Andersen’s first game at the UW. Alabama remains at No. 1 in both polls. Wisconsin will play at Ohio State on Saturday night, September 28th. Ohio State and Oregon remain second-and-third in the coaches’ poll, while the media elevated Oregon to second and dropped the Buckeyes to third. All three schools are at 1-0. The Badgers will play at Ohio State the night of September 28th.
The Green Bay Packers appear to be healthy, heading into their regular season opener at San Francisco on Sunday. Everybody on the 53-man roster practiced yesterday, except for starting corner Casey Hayward – who’s getting over a bad hamstring suffered at Training Camp. Safety Morgan Burnett and linebacker Brad Jones have also been out with hamstring injuries, and they returned to practice yesterday – as did corner Jarrett Bush, who’s returning from a bad ankle. The Packer players are off today, and they'll return to practice tomorrow.
For the second year in a row, former Packers’ quarterback Matt Flynn has been beaten out of a starting job elsewhere. The San Francisco Chronicle says the Oakland Raiders plan to start former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor this weekend against Indianapolis. NFL.com said it has also confirmed the decision. Flynn threw six touchdown passes for Green Bay in the final game of the 2011 regular season. He used that success to win a free-agent contract with Seattle last year, only to be beaten out by former Wisconsin Badgers’ quarterback Russell Wilson – whom the Seahawks drafted in the third round a year ago.
The Milwaukee Brewers will try to avoid handing another victory to the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight at Miller Park. The Brewers left runners in scoring position in each of the first five innings last night, before losing 5-2. Pittsburgh matched its victory total from a year ago – and a win tonight would assure the Pirates of their first .500-season since 1992. The Brewers are 6-11 against Pittsburgh this year, after winning 44-of-51 games against the Pirates at Miller Park from 2007-through-last season. Tonight, right-hander Yovani Gallardo will try to go 3-0 in four starts for the Brewers, since coming off the disabled list with a bad hamstring. Gallardo is 10-9 with a 4.93 ERA. Right-hander Gerrit Cole will start for the Pirates. He’s 6-7 with a 3.80 ERA. In his last outing, he gave up four runs to Milwaukee in a season-high seven-and-a-third innings, as the Crew blanked the Pirates 4-0 at PNC Park. The Pirates have only given Cole 18 runs of support in his last 10 starts – and he’s 2-7 in that stretch.
The Brewers are announcing this afternoon that they’ve surpassed the five-million-dollar mark in gross revenues for the team’s “50-50 Raffle” during games at Miller Park. At every home game since 2010, fans have bought raffle tickets for two-dollars each. Half goes to a single winner of the raffle, and the other half goes to the Brewers’ Community Foundation. Team owner Mark Attanasio and his wife Debbie started the Foundation with the goal of being a leader in serving Milwaukee and Wisconsin. The foundation provides funding for a number of charities – including Make-a-Wish of Wisconsin, the YMCA of Greater Wisconsin, the Greater Milwaukee Boys-and-Girls Clubs, and many more.
Madison golfer Steve Stricker has moved back into the Top-10 of the World Golf Rankings. He jumped four places to No. 10, after he finished second in the Deutsche Bank Championship that ended yesterday near Boston. With that finish, Stricker became an automatic qualifier for the U.S. President’s Cup team against an International squad in early October. Stricker is also eighth in the Fed-Ex Cup standings, halfway through the four playoff tournaments. He’s the only Wisconsin golfer still alive in the playoffs, after Jerry Kelly of Madison was eliminated yesterday. Kelly dropped two places in the World Rankings this week to 181st. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson is 133rd. Tiger Woods is still the World No. 1, followed by Ada