Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pre-Season Countdown: #2

The post you knew was coming before it got here.  So much for suspense.

12. Indiana State University
11. Eastern Michigan University
10. Temple
9.   Indiana
8.   Purdue
7.   Illinois
6.   Northwestern
5.   Iowa
4.  Ohio State
3.  Nebraska

And the #2, second most difficult game is . . .


On Wisconsin.  Off Wisconsin.  Wax on.  Wax off. 

Wisconsin came out second on this list for a variety of reasons.  It is the final game of the season and the third of a brutal November that features back-to-back-to-back games with Nebraska, Ohio State and the Cheeseheads.

What can you say about a fan base where cheddar is a fashion statement, not a food?

The Badgers went 10-2 last year with losses to co-Big Ten Champ MSU and a heart-breaking, two-point loss to TCU in the Rose Bowl.  They return 13 starters but not the QB.  In fact, the top two teams on this list will be breaking in new signal callers.  Yet both are ranked and expected to do great things.  Let's see how that works out for them.

After I put this list together, I found out that Jon Budmayr, who was supposed to start for the Badgers at Quarterback, has been injured.  NC State transfer Russell Wilson is going to be thrust into the job early on, according to the ESPN Big 10 Blog.  Of course, he may be back by the last game of the season, but who knows if he can win his job back (ala Bolden last year) or if he will mentally and physically be able to manage the team.

Had I known this, I might have dropped the Badgers down to 4th.  But maybe not.  Does it really matter who is the quarterback?  They are going to line up a herd of cattle across the field and pound the ball at you come hell or high water.  They have depth at running back--Montee Ball (are you kidding me!), James White and Zach Brown.  Despite losing two all-Americans on the line, the Badgers are expected to reload.  That's what they do.  Big.  Offensive.  Linemen.

Defensively, the Badgers were 20th in the nation overall last season, and don't appear to have any glaring weaknesses.

The Badgers have won 9 or more games 6 of the last 7 years.  Can they sustain that kind of success?  The experts say yes.  The final outcome might be shaky, with the injury to their projected starting QB.  But we can expect physical football from the Land of Cheese.

Prediction:  We lose.  We might win, but I just don't have the confidence (stupidity) that I used to have.  I think a lot will come down to how banged up these teams are after the Big Ten season.  It should be an interesting finale, and hopefully will have some championship implications.

No comments: