Who is Jim Sorgi?
By Tim Chapman
NationalChamps.net Writer/Analyst


I have been pawing through many message board posts, as well as pre-season publications. I have noticed that the consensus for NOT picking Wisconsin to contend for the Big Ten title is their "lack of an experienced QB".

All I can say is... whaaat??? Jim Sorgi is not your average "take-over" QB. This guy has started five games in his previous three years with UW. He's completed 55 percent of his passes for 16 TDs (against 12 INTs) for a pass efficiency rating of 134.9. His career total of 2,247 passing yards is 14th all-time at UW- a ranking that is CERTAIN to improve after this year.

It wasn't just garbage time he played, either. As I mentioned earlier, he started FIVE games, and here is what he did in each of them:

- 2000 (Freshman)
vs. Purdue: 21-of-29 passing (74%), 243 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs

- 2001 (Sophomore)
vs. Oregon: 16-of-32 (50%), 231 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
vs. Fresno State: 13-of-31 (42%), 246 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
vs. Michigan State: 10-of-19 (53%), 191 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs)

- 2002 (Senior)
vs. Illinois: 13-of-23 (57%), 162 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs

He has been as much of a part of the Wisconsin offense as a third-down receiver. He gave the Badgers that downfield passing presence Brooks Bollinger simply could not. When UW needed him, there he was- right next to offensive coordinator Brian White and head coach Barry Alvarez. A quiet, modest guy, he never barked for playing time. He knew well of his own talents and knew the coaches would turn to him at just the right time.

Since the last three years are gone, and though they have been fruitful for young Sorgi, all anyone will remember is this ONE, potentially magical season. Everyone should soon remember him as the guy who either 1.) Brought the Badgers another Big Ten title, or 2.) Couldn't quite get it done. Now is go time for all to decide, the time to step up. NOW is the time.

Look at what he has to work with:

- Arguably the best bunch of receivers in the Big Ten. Former All-Big Ten pass-catcher, Lee Evans returns (supposedly better than ever) along with Jonathan Orr, Brandon Williams, Darrin Charles, and a few noteworthy tight ends. These guys are stars in their own right. Sorgi on the passing end will only make them shine brighter.

- He has a running game that can keep secondaries at bay and freeze a defense to a degree of honesty. This "decoy" will allow him to work his way through the middle and deep parts of the field, dispersing the ball to his stocked arsenal of aforementioned receivers. Remember Darrell Bevell's success in 1993's magical season? He had two great runners to take some pressure off his arm, and it worked wonderfully. Expect much of the same from Sorgi.

- Although the offensive line brings back only TWO starters from a year ago, Madison has been a haven for breeding big uglies (linemen that is). Barry knows what to look for in the trenches and seems to recruit NFL-caliber linemen every year- something they seemed to lack in their "dismal days". They should be well adapted by the time Big Ten play starts.

- The intangibles. This is Sorgi's fifth year in the system. He also has had four years of practice and game experience that have systematically instilled proper decision-making abilities. He is also an EXTREMELY smart student, and carries his wily intelligence over to the football field. He does not beat you with jaw-dropping physical ability - he utilizes the greatest tool any good QB has, his mind. Once he starts to beat you mentally, that's when his physical gifts start to kick in and you don't care about anything except how to stop him.

Sorgi will win games, likely enough to come close to (or just outright) win the Big Ten title and take the Badgers to Pasadena (New Orleans?). The key will be how he fares in those big games. The Badgers have seven home games, including three against rivals - Ohio State, Purdue, and Iowa. If he establishes control in these outings, Wisconsin will be in for a big season. And, by year's end, Sorgi's experience should come full circle, shaming naysayers for such doubtful justification (even if it is only his own stats that impress).