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B1G 2016: The Wisconsin Badgers Cocktail Party Preview

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A worse record with a better team? Yeah, that's definitely a possibility.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

It's cocktail party time! Now in Wisconsin, every party is a cocktail party, at least in the sense that everyone always consumes cocktails at parties. So, on to laying down the scoop on the team with the toughest schedule in college football...

Last Season

The Good News...

Wisconsin went 10-3, which no one can really consider a bad season by an stretch of the imagination. They actually showed up to play against Bama which is more than can be said of the other Big Ten team than played Bama last year, and that was basically without the best players on offense or defense playing. The Axe continued its stay in Madison, and will qualify for a pension shortly if it continues to permanently be on University property. Beating USC in the Holiday Bowl was a solid cap to the season. Paul Chryst proved he could be more than a .500 P5 head coach when he isn't at a tire fire of program that recycles coaches faster than I recycle beer bottles.

The Bad News...

With Wisconsin's 1000 thread count satin sheets soft schedule, three losses is rather disappointing. Any season without a division title is going to rather disappointing as well. Losing to clownfraud trash like Iowa is irritating to say the least, especially when you have to jump down the rabbit hole of "you might be 12-0 but you haven't beat anyone that good, including yes Wisconsin". 10-3 sounds nice, but for a program with three 11 seasons and one other 10 win season since 2010, that's not exactly exceeding expectations.

When the Badgers have the ball...

The Good News...

Wisconsin returns four starters on the offensive line, and many think that if he had been eligible Ryan Ramczyk would have either started somewhere or may have even stolen Tyler Marz spot at LT because Ryan Ramczyk is that good.So Wisconsin is basically bringing back the entire offensive line. If this was "the Big Ten Conference Defense" cocktail party this would be included in the bad news but it's not and this is a very good thing for Wisconsin. The line was starting to show strides and Joe Rudolph is a hell of an offensive line coach. Corey Clement also doesn't have a hernia, so Wisconsin won't be relying on a converted cornerback and two freshman to carry the load on offense. It seems to me a lot of people forgot how good Corey Clement is, so I'm just going to leave this picture of Wisconsin's totally jacked up star running back here...

Go look not getting stiff armed by him

God bless you if you're on the receiving end of Corey Clement stiff arm this year. A priest will be with you to read your last rites shortly

The Bad News...

As polarizing and frustrating as he was Joel Stave is the all-time wins leader at Wisconsin. I firmly believe that given this year's line and a healthy Clement he would be able to make some things happen. Alas, he is currently employed as Teddy Bridgewater's training camp clipboard holder. No matter what PSU fans try to tell replacing a QB is virtually never addition by subtraction and Stave wasn't even 5*. To make matters more difficult for Bart Houston or Alex Hornibrook, Alex Erickson also graduated. Robert Wheelwright is talented, but made of glass, and Jazz Peavy has to take the football to dinner and a movie for it to count as a catch so he's only good for two catches a week at best.

When the Badgers don't have the ball...

The Good News...

The entire two deep on the front seven is back except for Joe Schobert and Arthur Goldberg. Losing Schobert hurts, but Jack Cichy has shown flashes he can be a superstar. The linebackers could be one of the best units in the Big Ten if not the nation. Having a four year starter at cornerback never hurts, as Sojourn Shelton returns, as well as Leo Musso at safety. This could be one of the most athletic secondaries Wisconsin has never had.

The Bad News...

Dave Aranda had a truck load of money dumped on him by... LSU! Double whammy as not only did we lose our noted genius defensive coordinator, but we also have to face off against noted genius defensive coordinator with a new starting quarterback. You don't just replace an All-American linebacker as productive as Schobert, especially when you lost his replacements' position coach. Losing Michael Caputo will also hurt a lot, as he might've been the most valuable player on defense when he wasn't trying to tackle Derrick Henry with his head/face.

When the Badgers are kicking the ball...

The Good News...

Fat dancing Brazilian kicker Rafael Gaglianone is back to be fat, do the Samba, and drill 50 yarders against LSU in no particular order. Drew Meyer graduating is addition by subtraction since he was about to lose his job to the backup quarterback anyway. The fact Anthony Lotti was the number two punter in his class means Wisconsin can get back up to B1G standards in the most B1G of all aspects of football.

fat_kicker_dance.0.htm

The Bad News...

Fat dancing kicker wasn't actually that good last year. He only hit two-thirds of his attempts after connecting on 88% his freshman year. One can only hope that trend doesn't continue or no more fat dancing kicker. Losing Erickson as a punt return is also also going to have an effect. Nothing is more frustrating than muffed punts.

The Schedule...

Date Opponent
Sept. 3 LSU (Lambeau Field)
Sept. 10 Akron
Sept. 17 Georgia State
Sept. 24 @ Michigan State
Oct. 1 @ Michigan
Oct. 15 Ohio State
Oct. 22 @Iowa
Oct. 29 Nebraska
Nov. 5 @Northwestern
Nov. 12 Illinois
Nov. 19 @Purdue
Nov. 26 Minnesota

The Good News...

Minnesota's on it.

The Bad News...

Where do I start? Well LSU's a preseason top 5 team so that's going to be fun playing the Heisman favorite the first game of the season. Playing both Michigans on the road back to back weeks probably won't go so well. Ohio State is a thing on the middle of the schedule. At Iowa and especially at Northwestern are just... ugh. Even some of the other games aren't nice... Purdue Harbor says hi and is most certainly in play. Hell even Arkon went 8-5 last year.

If you're talking to a Wisconsin fan...

Do Mention...

Alcohol, The Axe Streak, basketball, Tony Granato, what the card says, how good Mickie's Dairy Bar is, Montee Ball's Wisconsin career

Don't Mention

Alcoholics Anonymous, that Minnesota still leads the series (FOR NOW), women's basketball, Mike Eaves, Gary Andersen, how the Nitty Gritty has fallen off a cliff in quality, everything Montee Ball has done post Wisconsin