As is the theme with the teams in the Big Ten West, Wisconsin has a lot of question marks. There's the old face in a new place at head coach in Paul Chryst. From there there are question marks at wide receiver, along the offensive line (much to the confusion of many Badger faithful), as well as uncertainty along the defensive line. Even some supposedly "settled" positions, there are reasons to be uncomfortable with opening against one of the best programs in the nation. However quarterback is totally not one of them, as Joel Stave is a rock of consistency and... I can't finish that sentence. Are we sure Scott Tolzien is out of eligibility? Yes? Well in that case, without further adieu, the 2015 Wisconsin Badgers Closing Argument: Scott Tolzien Free Edition.
I. Case History and Opening Statement
A. Case History
So 2014 was interesting season, even if on paper it went basically exactly as planned. 11 wins, division winner, choked against LSU. What wasn't planned was finding out that Tanner McEvoy definitely should be playing something besides quarterback almost immediately after being called upon to throw the ball, getting absolutely murderdeathkilled by OSU, and having Gary Andersen (we barely knew ye) leave almost immediately after being called upon to answer what the fuck happened in Indy. Barry Alvarez somehow resurrected the artists formerly known as the Wisconsin Badgers football team just in time to beat Auburn fat Brazilian kicker style. That was nothing short of a miracle, at least from my perspective. I was sure that I was going to get to watch Wisconsin get trucked while ridiculously hungover and pounding screwdrivers. Then again, this is Barry Alvarez we're talking about, who I still don't have proof beyond a reasonable doubt isn't God. That however, is a completely different argument. So after all that mess, Wisconsin finished the season a respectable 11-3, topping it off with a bowl win over an SEC team. And was it ever sweet to end the bowl drought against a team from the "toughest division in college football". I had to use quotes because I'm pretty sure ESPN has trademarked that term when discussing the SEC West.
B. Opening Statement
Despite having a new coach, Wisconsin football might be more stable than it has been in at least four years. Paul Chryst could possibly bring the least change you could possibly ask for, and he's tailor made for this Badger team. If anyone can turn Joel Stave into an effective QB, it's the man who recruited him to walk on. Couple that with the genius stroke that was retaining defensive genius and December kidnapping victim (I'm still maintaining Andersen had him locking in a closet for the conference championship game) Dave Aranda, and Wisconsin's coaching staff is much better than last year. I mean, Andy Ludwig being gone already makes Joel Stave a better quarterback,
Speaking of Stave, for the first time in his career, he's spent fall camp as the undisputed starter. It's also the first time since 2012 that his position coach isn't a certified moron. I have nothing against Tanner McEvoy personally. I have seen him in interviews and he seems like a great person. Unfortunately that doesn't translate into being a good quarterback. It took Les Miles like three plays to figure that Tanner McEvoy wasn't a good passer. This fact eluded Ludwig all of fall camp and gave Stave the yips last year. I have full faith that Stave will have a much better season than last year. After all, he was better his freshman year. Thank God Andy Ludwig is Vanderbilt's problem now.
Around Stave, there are some very good pieces, but also some question marks. Corey Clement will pick up right were Melvin Gordon left the Wisconsin RB tradition, and Alex Erickson returns as the number one receiving threat. The left side of the line, along with center Dan Voltz, looks to be solid. However, Wisconsin still doesn't have a proven number two receiver, although McEvoy has had an impressive camp. Presumptive starting tight end Troy Fumagali has battled injuries most of camp, making the wide receiver situation even more precarious. Perhaps of greatest concern is the right side of the line. Hayden Biegel and Walker Williams were named the starters, despite both having virtually no experience AND being banged up. If this was Southwest Technical Community University Wisconsin was facing in week one, this wouldn't be a problem. Alabama is a bit better than that though.
The defensive line has similar questions. There's talent there, but most of it has barely touched the field. Chikwe Obasih is the only returning starter and he wasn't much of a factor. The good news is that the defense gets better as you go back. Vince Biegel not only has great hair (although it's not back to where it was pre-charity), he's one of the biggest playmakers in the conference. Wisconsin might also have the best secondary in the Big Ten. All four starters return from a unit that was great when not playing Ohio State. Sojourn Shelton is one of the best one on one corners in the conference, and Michael Caputo is a tackling machine. The only change in back is Leo Musso completely outplayed Lubern Figaro and took over as the starting free safety. It's probably a good thing when last year's starting safety, who was perfectly adequate most of the time, especially for a true freshman, loses his starting spot anyway. As a wild card, McEvoy is expected to play both ways, lining up in the secondary as well in certain packages.
9/5- Alabama (Dallas)
9/12- Miami (OH)
10/17- 404:Error Not Found
What We've Written About Wisconsin
III. Emotional Plea
Esteemed members of the jury, I offer you no emotional plea on the grounds that I cannot feel emotions about this team until I see them on the field. There are too many questions before the biggest test of the season to say with any certainty what to expect of this team. If Stave throws for 300 yards and Wisconsin rolls, then I'll drunkenly write an article about how he's going to win the Heisman and you're all screwed. If Wisconsin loses by some obscene score like 59-0 I'll drunkenly write an article about how my liver is screwed because this season is going to be terrible. Until then, I ask for you to see what happens Saturday, because it might just be magical for anyone that hates Alabama, and who doesn't? There really isn't anything to like about that state.
IV. The Verdict
I'm sorry guys, my laptop crashed and I don't have the know how to get the predictions to the article and format it correctly. Especially not at 3 am. I can say that I have Wisconsin going 11-1 and beating Alabama 28-24 because fuck the SEC and I do honestly thing that 1- Bama is super overrated and 2- Joel Stave really will beat Bama with his arm, and he's going to have to. I'll go more in depth on this on Friday/Saturday morning.
Yorke: I grabbed the HTML from the Nebraska Closing Arguments and added the Wisconsin predictions. Not sure how Wisconsin is going to lose any games this year since Penn State isn't on the schedule. #Unrivaled
|Candystripes for Breakfast||11-1||8-0|