I could not believe my ears yesterday, Colin Cowherd from ESPN not only had good things to say about the Big 10, he named Wisconsin as his most under-rated team, IN THE COUNTRY!! Colin even went as far as saying the Badgers could go 12-0.
I cannot lie, there is a lot of excitement for the Badgers this year and a lot of that is due to the 20-14 win over Miami in the Champs Sports Bowl last year. A game that was not as close as the final score due to some red zone turn-overs and a late score by Miami. For 58 minutes Wisconsin dominated the Canes.
The Badgers have 10 returning starters on offense and 6 on defense. Scott Tolzien will be an experienced quarterback, John Clay is a dark-horse Heisman candidate, and the offensive line should be one of the better lines in the country.
The defense will need to find a pass rush. Obrien Schofield will be sorely missed. Hopefully somebody will step up between JJ Watt or Louis Nzegwu to help bolster the rush. Otherwise, the linebackers and secondary should be a strength.
The Badgers Schedule is not that bad this year. In non-conference they play @UNLV, San Jose St, Arizona St, and Austin Peay. It is nice to see a BCS conference team with Arizona St, if only they could exchange Austin Peay for at least a team from the MAC or Conference USA. Baby Steps.
The Conference schedule is nicely balanced, they do play Ohio State and @Iowa back to back, but avoid Penn State and get their bye after the Iowa game. The Badgers have a very good schedule compared with years past where they had three or four very tough games in a row. This schedule will not be a hindrance to a BCS birth.
Phil Steele publishes the ultimate pre-season college football magazine. He has Wisconsin taking fourth in the Big Ten behind Ohio State, Iowa, and Penn State. He also states that it is very likely the Badgers will win double digits this year.
In his individual unit rankings the Badgers are 6th at Running Back, 2nd at Offensive Line, 18th at Wide Receiver(which includes Tight Ends), but not one defensive unit is ranked. Hopefully the defense is also under-rated.
In his pre-season power poll the Badgers are ranked 20th, behind Ohio State, Iowa and Penn State.