There will be a lot of people that will say that because Wisconsin lost Russell Wilson they won’t do very well this season, but I am not one of those people. I am a Danny O’Brien believer.
O’Brien is a transfer from Maryland who is coming off of a broken arm, but in his freshman season at Maryland, O’Brien passed for 2200 yards and 22 TDs. He also rushed for 12 TDs. This was all done under a system that didn’t exactly fit him. Now that O’Brien is at Wisconsin, expect Brett Bielema to use him like Russell Wilson. O’Brien has all the tools to lead Wisconsin to a Big 10 title, and that’s exactly what I expect to happen with running back Montee Ball returning.
Ball, a senior, rushed for 1923 yards last season and scored 33 TDs for the Badgers. Likely to be a Heisman candidate again this season, Ball will be expected to help take some of the initial pressure off of O’Brien. O’Brien will also have the Badger’s number one receiver, junior Jared Abbrederis back.
The Badger defense finished the season ranked 15th last year, and is returning six of those starters this year. That should be good enough to keep up with rest of the Big 10 and I’ll list why below.
Why Wisconsin should be ranked higher:
They don’t play Michigan. The Badgers avoid the Wolverines this season and face both Michigan State and Ohio State at home, travelling only to Nebraska for some real competition. This could make for an easy road to a Big 10 title game.
Why Wisconsin shouldn’t be ranked higher:
Lost Russell Wilson, who is now going to be an NFL starting quarterback, and any time you lose a guy like that your team is bound to take a hit.
Returning Starters:5 Offense / 6 Defense
Best games: at Nebraska, Michigan State, Ohio State
2011 Total Offense: 14th
2011 Total Defense: 15th
2011 Turnover margin: 4th
Championship odds: 40:1
Projected record: 11 – 1
6. Wisconsin, 7. Florida State, 8. Georgia, 9. West Virginia, 10. Michigan State, 11. Clemson, 12. Michigan, 13. Virginia Tech, 14. TCU, 15. Arkansas, 16. Kansas State, 17. Texas, 18. Nebraska, 19. Ohio State, 20. South Carolina, 21. Stanford, 22. Oklahoma State, 23. Boise State, 24. Cincinnati, 25. Notre Dame