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NCAA Team Preview: Wisconsin Badgers

The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for a run at not only a Big Ten title, but a possible chance at a national title. The Badgers were pushed as one of the top contenders in the Big Ten, especially after Ohio State lost quarterback Braxton Miller. Wisconsin will face a tough opener, but if they get by it, they will have a chance at contending for title. The Badgers have plenty of questions to answer, but still appear to have more talent than nearly every other Big Ten team.

The Badgers went 9-4 last season, but fell to Penn State at the end of the season and then South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl. Offensively a season ago, the Badgers scored nearly 35 points per game, and they may need every bit of that with all the changed defensively. Joel Stave will be the quarterback after he thrown for nearly 2,500 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Dual threat Tanner McEvoy may give Stave all he can handle for that position. The running game will feature the talented Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement. Gordon rushed for 1609 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Clement finished with 7 touchdowns and nearly 550 yards.  This season, Gordon is shooting for 2,000 yards or more. He feels he has a shot at winning the 2014 Heisman. Concerns at the wide receiver are also an issue.

Defensively, the Badgers lost all but three starters from a season ago. All three of those starters are in the secondary. Warren Herring returns after his 17 tackles of a season ago. With the Badgers playing in the West portion of the Big Ten, they should have a chance to run the conference table. A Big Ten title game would be up for grabs, unless Wisconsin can figure out some answers on the defensive side.

Wisconsin opens the season in a very tough bout against the SEC’s LSU Tigers. LSU should be a great game, especially in Week 1. If the Badgers win that one, look out. Wisconsin then faces Western Illinois, Bowling Green and South Florida before the end of September. Once October arrives, the Badgers will travel to Northwestern in their first conference game. After that, Wisconsin will host Illinois, have an open date, and then stay at home and welcome the Maryland Terrapins to town. Following that, the month of November starts with two road games for the Cornhuskers. Nebraska will play at Rutgers and Purdue, before heading back home to host Nebraska. On November 22nd, the Badgers play at Iowa, and then come home and host the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The Badgers have been really good for a long time, especially with guys at quarterback that most have not heard of. Wisconsin will be in that case again this season. The Badgers will use their 3-4 scheme, and will have plenty of newcomers, but if they come together, look out. This team could mix themselves into the Big Ten title game with a chance to be playing for a national title in January.

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