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B1G 2015 // The Wisconsin Badgers Cocktail Party Preview

Brandy Old Fashioneds for everyone!

When I became OTE's Wisconsin "writer" on OTE after passing a rigorous series of physical and mental tests mostly related to proving that I didn't watch college football, would never proof read my articles, and would constantly be condescending towards commenters, my first assignment was the Wisconsin post mortem piece after last season. If you're really bored, you can go read it here. So without further adieu, the Wisconsin 2015 Cocktail Party...

About Last Season

The Good News:

Winning 11 games is never a bad thing. Breaking bowl win droughts is never a bad thing. It's especially fun when said bowl win came against an SEC West team. Melvin Gordon had one of the best seasons by a running back (Wisconsin or otherwise) ever. Wisconsin won the West Division fairly handily, all the while winning all three trophy games. They absolutely trucked everyone they were supposed to in non-conference. Nebraska got absolutely run over again /Melvin Gordon ran for 20 yards again. LSU looked absolutely lost  and outclassed for 31 minutes..

The Bad News:

OH MY GOD DID YOU WISCONSIN'S QUARTERBACK PLAY THE FIRST 5 GAMES OF THE SEASON?!?!?! McEvoy was positively terrible the second half against LSU, and combined with some injuries, Wisconsin couldn't finish off LSU. Damn Les Miles and his fake punts. Why we even bother playing in Evanston is beyond me, The weather is terrible and Northwestern ends up winning games with inferior teams that help me find new levels of frustration. Oh and there was a game in Indianapolis. Nobody told anyone associated with Wisconsin football. Unfortunately someone forgot to send the memo to OSU that we were going to have to reschedule that game and it ended up happening,

On Offense:

The Good News:

Wisconsin returns a QB who is 21-7 as a starter who can only get better with a proven QB coach as his head coach. Speaking of new QB coaches, Andy Ludwig and his inability to coach quarterbacks or call plays creatively is now Vanderbilt's problem. Corey Clement has proven himself a capable back already and looks ready to step into the spotlight. Alex Erickson returns as a legitimate #1 WR. Troy Fumagalli has been hyped as Wisconsin's next great tight end. Derek Watt is still ruining blitzers lives at fullback. The offensive line returns three starters.

The Bad News:

Melvin Gordon plays for the San Diego Chargers now. There's no guarantee that Stave will get better at QB, and if he doesn't Clement will have to shoulder the entire offense in much the same way Gordon did. That probably e\won't work as well, with all due respect to Corey. There are absolutely zero proven receiving threats besides Erickson. Having a completely new coaching staff on one side of the ball will always lead to some unexpected difficulties. Even if they are for the most part old faces in Madison.

On Defense:

The Good News:

Dave Aranda is back, which is bad news to offensive coordinators everywhere. Vince Biegel and his 16.5 TFLs look to menace opposing backfields again. The entire secondary returns, led by safety Michael Caputo. This has been a unit that has gotten better and more creative as time has gone on, and with another year of experience, the defense has the piece needed to improve on a very strong 2014 campaign

The Bad News:

2/3rds of the defensive line graduated, and if the LSU game was any indication, Warren Herring might have been the most important player on the Wisconsin defense. The whole secondary might be back, but that secondary wasn't particularly good in coverage last year. Both Derek Landisch and Marcus Trotter graduated, leaving holes at linebacker.

On Special Teams:

The Good News:

FAT, DANCING , AND TALENTED BRAZILIAN KICKER THAT WINS BOWL GAMES IS BACK. Any kicker that drills 50 yard FGs than breaks out the samba is awesome. Even Iowa fans can agree with that. Wisconsin also recently signed a 3* punter #B1G

The Bad News:

Drew Meyer was terrible last year. You know it's bad when you're Elite 11/3rd string QB is back there rugby punting, (And yet no fake punts. You know Bielema would've...). Last year was a muffed punt parade, that can't happen again.

The Schedule:

September 5th Alabama (in Dallas)
September 12th Miami (OH)
September 19th Troy
September 26th Hawaii
October 3rd Iowa
October 10th @Nebraska
October 17th 404:Error Not Found
October 24th @Illinois
October 31st Buttgers
November 7th @Maryland
November 21st Northwestern
November 28th @Minnesota

The Good News:

Still have Maryland and Rutgers as crossovers. Still have a West Division schedule that includes Iowa, Purdue, and Illinois. The Northwestern game is in Madison. Three of the non-conference games are against bad Group of 5 teams.

The Bad News:

Bama in week one? Ugh. Other than that Wisconsin will probably be favored to win the other 11 games. At Minnesota might be considered tricky if they could beat Wisconsin anywhere other than their living rooms while playing NCAA Football. Borderline inevitable rematch with OSU in the CCG will inevitably be painful.

Bottom Line:

Paul Chryst inherits a good team and schedule tailor made to go 11-1. Of course, college football is weird and Wisconsin won't go 11-1. That said, 2015 should be at least as good as 2014, and it quite likely will look very similar to 2014. Now if Wisconsin does something crazy like beat Alabama all bets are off.

Do Mention:

Alcohol, the 2014 and 2015 Final Fours, alcohol, how cool Madison is, alcohol, how disgusting Minnesota and Iowa are, alcohol, how great fried food is, alcohol, how awesome beating your biggest rival 11 years in a row is, alcohol, running the football, alcohol, Bo Ryan, alcohol, 2012 CCG

Don't Mention:

The merits of sobriety, Duke, admission standards for athletes, anything positive about Iowa or Minnesota, vegetarianism, that football existed before 1993, throwing the football, coaching stability, 2014 CCG