Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Wisconsin Badgers season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Wisconsin Badgers
– Team Overview
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Wisconsin Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
2017 can’t have been the year.
It was a perfect storm of things happening all at once in what was really, really, really close to being a truly special campaign.
The schedule was manageable, the defense was dominant, there weren’t a slew of key injuries, and a true freshman – Jonathan Taylor – rose up and turned in one of the greatest seasons ever by a running back at a place known for cranking out great seasons by running backs.
The Wisconsin Badgers – arguably the worst program in college football 30 years ago thanks to a 1-11 1988 season running Don Morton’s veer attack – went 12-0 and was one win away from going to the College Football Playoff.
And to take this one step further, despite getting rim-rocked by Ohio State for three quarters, the Badgers had the puck on their stick with one final drive to win the Big Ten title and get into the CFP.
Had they completed the task – they lost 27-21 – they’re in, Alabama’s not, and considering Bucky’s style of play, they were just good enough to have possibly beaten Clemson. Georgia would’ve won the national championship and history would’ve been different, but going forward, Wisconsin is ready for a chance.
Winning the Orange Bowl over Miami was nice and all, but for a team that was so close to winning the Big Ten Championship for the first time since 2012, that was a little bit flat.
Great … now come up with the same magical regular season two years in a row.
Fortunately, with so much experience and talent returning, the pieces are there to do just that, and a whole lot more.
Start with an NFL-caliber offensive line that gets all five starters back to pave the way for Taylor and a ridiculously deep group of running backs. Alex Hornibrook might be maddening at times, but in his third year as the starting quarterback, he’s been through the wars. Best of all, now he has a real, live receiving corps to throw to.
The defense that turned out the lights on just about everyone last season has an amazing linebacking corps, but it needs help on the front three and in the secondary. Fortunately, that’s what playing WKU, New Mexico and BYU is for before having to go to Iowa.
And there’s the problem. This year’s team actually has to play someone. On the road.
Going to Michigan, Penn State, Purdue, Northwestern and Iowa is going to be a challenge, and Nebraska and Minnesota are going to be a whole lot better. The Badgers have to play a real slate this year.
But for a team that’s coming into the season thinking and dreaming about not just getting into the College Football Playoff, but winning it, there’s no one on the schedule it can’t and shouldn’t beat.
There’s where the Wisconsin bar is set at now – win the Big Ten title, get to the CFP. Otherwise, it’s just another very good season for a very, very good program.