Badgers 2012 Year in Review: No. 10 – Danny O’ Brien Transfers & the epic fail that follows

It's hard to believe but we are nearing the end of 2012, but it's indeed coming to a close. It's also safe to say it has been a hell of a year in Badger country, huh? With that in mind it's time for us to recap the year that was in Badger sports. We've combed through the best stories of the year, the biggest headlines, the untold stories, and so much more to give you the Top 10 Wisconsin Badgers Stories in our Year in Review. (on a side note it's hard to believe this site is nearing it's own one year anniversary after our move from a previous home.)

Today, we begin our look at those stories with one that was of utmost importance and potential from this spring – the transfer of Danny O'Brien to Wisconsin from Maryland. Some in Badger nation thought he could be the second coming of one Russell Wilson, leading us to yet another Rose Bowl and such. Well, they got the 2nd part of that story correct, except it had absolutely nothing to do with getting them there like most thought he would and for al the ups and downs and potential this story kicks off our Top 10 list.

What Happened: Let me set the scene for you…. Wisconsin has two warm bodies that were ho-hum at best in the Spring game and they literally have just 2 guys who could play come the start of the season. No, we're not talking about 2011, we're talking about 2012 and we're talking about another former ACC Freshman of the Year being the target of just about every transfer rumor on the face of the earth. Danny O'Brien followed Russell Wilson to Wisconsin as a transfer QB and much was expected. 

Like Wilson he came in and won the starting job in camp, but in dramatically different fashion – having to hold off both Curt Phillips and redshirt freshman walk-on Joel Stave for the job. That alone should've been the signal that things weren't going to be the same. D.O'B came in and played alright – good enough to win, in the season opener against Northern Iowa, but things quickly unraveled in a horrible start at Oregon State. O'Brien led the team to just 7 points against a team that mattered and in the next game against a game Utah State program he managed to lead the Badgers to just 3 points at the half. Bielema had seen enough and in came Joel Stave at the half and the rest is nearly history for the team. 

Except for we wouldn't see the last of O'Brien and what we ended up seeing cost Wisconsin two more football games when he had to come in and replace an injured Stave against Nebraska and Michigan State. Against the Huskers he fumbled a snap deep into their territory where a score would've won the football game. Against the Spartans he came in to lead an offense following Stave suffering a season ending broken collar bone and he led the team to 3 and out after 3 and out, even when the Badgers took over inside the MSU 20 yard line, where they had to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown and thus the game gets lost in OT instead of won in regulation. 

That's the story of Danny O'Brien in 2012 and come 2013 he's pretty much buried himself on the depth chart in his final year of eligibility. 


Why it’s on the List: This story would've been much, much higher on the list had two things happened – 1) Danny O'Brien stayed the starter at Wisconsin or 2) Wisconsin doesn't make the Big Ten Championship game without him. Either way this had the potential to come up much higher on the list and in football only terms it probably did. However in the grand scheme of things all worked out for the best in the end and for that it comes in at the opening spot on our list.

Come back tomorrow to find out what story made our No. 9 spot in our Year in Review

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, as well as Publisher of Big Ten site