What about you Wisconsin? With all of the pre-season love going around to middle of the pack teams like Iowa Minnesota and even Northwestern (???) one team has been forgotten...and that team is the Wisconsin Badgers.
So you have your wish Badger nation, this Spartan fan is hopping on the Bandwagon and driving it straight to the Outback Bowl in Tampa.
1. How about that schedule? Dodging the spread/speed of PSU and Illinois is huge, and getting MSU/Iowa at home is a major plus. Looking at the schedule you see one game that stands out to you as an almost surefire loss (@tOSU). Your other three league road games are @ NW @ IU and @ Minn.
2. John Clay: Does anybody else remember last season when Clay went rumbling 32 yards into the endzone almost crushing our hopes against the Badgers? Clay is a wrecking ball who served as the second option behind PJ Hill last year....I know many Badger fans who look at Hill's early departure as a blessing as it will bring Clay into the spotlight as the feature back. Clay has had his fair share of bumps and bruises during the grueling Big 10 season but he also has a great compliment in RB Zach Brown.
3. WR/TE: I witnessed the speed and explosiveness of David Gilreath last year as he took an end-around and ran by our whole defense. Gilreath is due for a breakout year and will have support from stud TE Garrett Graham and Kyle Jefferson who you might remember from such hits as
#14 Kyle Jefferson Takes A Big Hit - Mich State @ Wisconsin (via TheFritter04)
I'm sure Kyle doesn't remember it.
4. Phillip Welch: Last but not least you have a returning kicker who was a 2008 Lou Groza semi-finalist and a money kicker who turned in a career best 4 FG performance against Michigan last season (including a 52 yarder).
1. QB? I know Curt Phillips is the future, but my money is on Dustin Sherer. The guy had a rough 2008 but I look for him to have a Hoyer-esque year in 2009 trying to manage games with his arm while relying heavily on the run game. Costly TOs ruined Wisconsin's chances in a lot of games last season and protecting the football should be a major concern in 2009.
1. Bret Bielema: Bielema walked into a great situation in 2006 and many thought he was the hottest young coach in the league (Sorry Fitz). Well the honeymoon is over after the epic collapse vs. Michigan and the blown game vs. MSU. The man with the Iowa Hawkeye tattoo on his leg is slowly losing supporters in Madison but he still has the confidence of the man who hired him. I can't say I'm a huge Bilema fan...especially after his kick-off loophole antics vs. PSU in 2006. If he wants to get off the hotseat in 2009 he will need at least 8-9 wins to make Badger fans happy.
Prediction: I have Wisconsin going 9-3 finishing in 3rd place in the Big 10. You have to see them going 4-0 in the non-conference (N.Ill, Fresno St. Wofford, Hawaii) and dropping the game @tOSU. The two biggest games remaining are Iowa and MSU at home. MSU hasn't won at Wisconsin since the Dortch injury game and I don't see them ending the drought. The only other games I could possibly see Wisconsin losing would be Iowa and Michigan. Both these games are at home and you should never count the Badgers out in games in Madtown.
Next on RickTheBlogger: MSU Preview