We are officially 99 days away from kickoff and Wisconsin fans can expect another exciting season from the reigning Big Ten West champions. The Badgers landed in the top 15 on five different preseason rankings.
One thing the Badgers have going for them this fall is their schedule is much easier than last season. Wisconsin will not have to face Michigan State or Ohio State. Their toughest games will come at Nebraska, and home against Michigan. The Badgers will finish off the regular season at Minnesota, with a chance to win Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the 14th straight time.
With a senior-led defense the Badgers are hoping to pick up right where they left off last season. Athlon Sports agrees, citing the Badgers experience on the defensive side of the ball as one of the reasons for ranking them 12th.
Sports Illustrated noted that for the Badgers to continue their success, Alex Hornibrook must continue to grow into the starting quarterback role. After a sold spring season, Hornibrook looks ready for the job. Right now, the Badgers are ranked 12th by Sports Illustrated, but if Hornibrook can be efficient and maintain his starting role the Badgers could find themselves moving up in the ranks.
ESPN seems to be a little weary about the Badgers and their many losses this offseason. Between losing eight players to the NFL, and former defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox leaving to take a position at the University of California, the Badgers are relying on others to step up. With Chris Orr and Jack Cichy returning from injury, they will provide familiarity on defense. ESPN expects junior college transfer Andrew Van Ginkel to take over some of T.J. Watt’s pass rushing duties.
Although Sports Illustrated is concerned with the Badgers’ quarterback position, CBS Sports assures that the Wisconsin will not stray from their strategy of building a stellar offensive line to compliment a featured back. CBS currently has Wisconsin ranked 12th. With Corey Clement gone, questions remain as to who will take over his starting role. Bradrick Shaw and Chris James both had a really impressive spring, and it will be interesting to see how the competition is decided.