Look, I really don't need to tell you about Jeff Budzien. I have already spoken his praises. It was I who invented Budzien4Groza, it was I who tried to tell the masses, it was I who told you about Northwestern having the best special teams in the country. And yet, here I am, asked one more time to tell you about Jeff Budzien.
Continue to ignore my words at your peril. Jeff Budzien is here, Jeff Budzien is real, and in a world filled with #CollegeKickers, he will lead us into the light.
Budzien played for Hartland (Wisc.) Arrowhead, where he helped dominate from a young age. The Warhawks went 39-3 across his three seasons of play, including a 14-0 state title run his junior year. As a junior, he went 65-for-66 on PAT's, although his field goal kicking left something to be desired, going only 6-for-11. But as a senior, he wouldn't miss any field goals from 50 yards and in, he'd hit 63 of 65 extra points, and he'd hit 70 of 88 kickoffs for touchbacks. Surely enough, his greatness was recognized: 247's composite ranked him as the No. 4 kicker in the country, Rivals had him at No. 7, Scout No. 8, and ESPN ranked Budzien as low as 19. In other news, the staff in charge of ranking kickers at ESPN were monumentally stupid, unfit to lick excrement from the bottom of Jeff Budzien's cleats, and have probably all died in easily avoidable accidents due to their bumbling, massive foolishness, and those that haven't should consider offing themselves via seppuku to save the honor of their families. (Excuse me for a second: I need to go to the bathroom to vomit about the fact that anybody thought Jeff Budzien was the No. 19 kicker in the high school class of 2009. Disgusting.) However, Budzien's only D-I offers were from Northwestern, Kansas State, and Rice, and he picked Northwestern.
Jeff started inauspiciously enough: a redshirt, then just one PAT as a redshirt freshman. And as a sophomore, 6-for-10 on field goals, although he wouldn't miss a PAT.
Then, his junior season. His junior season! 19-for-20 on field goals! Perfect AGAIN on PAT's! His only miss was the ill-fated 53-yarder with the game closing against Nebraska, a kick just feet off the target, with the length but not the accuracy, that would have won Northwestern the game and ascended the Wildcats to even crazier heights.
I spend many hours thinking about this field goal. It always comes back to one of the central questions of theology: why? Why do bad kicks happen to good kickers? Why did Jeff Budzien, who we all believe -- no, know -- is an omnipotent kicking force, CHOOSE to miss this field goal. To test our faith? And if so, why does our chosen kicker feel the need to punish the righteous in some sadistic, insecure trial of our loyalty?
I've come to comfort myself in Budzien's lone miss. As brutal as it was, it allows us to remember that our lives, enriched by the light of Budzien are better than what we had without it. We are lucky: we strode between angels and
Demos demons, and we found the right path. Budzien may work in mysterious ways, but his presence makes us all better.
Budzien drilled all five field goals, including two 40 yarders, in a win against Boston College. If any of those misses, the score would have been 13-12 Boston College in the game's waning minutes, turning Northwestern into the aggressor and BC into the team playing with a slim lead. Instead, NU had the 15-13 advantage, and the Eagles had to attempt throw after throw after throw that didn't pan out. Mike Trumpy would score another TD
Anagram of choice
Discovering the Wildcats' true inner selves through spelling
Jeff Budzien, anagrammed, is
JEEZ FIB FUND
I don't know what it means.
Relevant musical selection
"Teenage Dream," Katy Perry
YOU! MAKE! ME! FEEL LIKE I'M LIVIN A JEFF! BUD! ZIEN!
Normally I'm a big Katy Perry supporter because she's basically the greatest musician ever to have lived but she hasn't done anything in a while. Where you at, Katy? Leaving me to sing songs about Jeff Budzien all by myself?
Elite Budzien4Groza Tweets
The B1G asked him to skip this year's Kickoff luncheon so that other players could get some media attention. #BudzienFacts— Budzien In '13 (@Budzien4Groza) July 10, 2013
It's fortunate he'll be out of eligibility in 2017 and won't play at Maryland because shellfish are allergic to him. #BudzienFacts— Budzien In '13 (@Budzien4Groza) July 11, 2013
Well said, Mr. Rodger Sherman. Well said indeed.— Budzien In '13 (@Budzien4Groza) July 19, 2013
"So Mitch, who would you say is the second-best kicker in the Big Ten?" http://t.co/8PI1x2SDNn— Budzien In '13 (@Budzien4Groza) July 24, 2013
How he can helpIn retrospect, the "how he can help" section is depressing. The amount any mere man can achieve is so slim, so pathetic, so futile, that profiling the potential successes and foibles of dozens and dozens of Northwestern football players is insignificant, piddly, worthless.
Buddy Z, though, can do all things. Northwestern chooses to use him as a kicker, and that is how he will help us. He will be perfect or close, and there is a chance he wins Northwestern's first national award since Pat Fitzgerald in 1996. (BTW, Buddy Z is not the first pseudo-religious figure to carry the name "Buddy".)