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How’s wisconsin’s 2017 offense going to be?

Will the Badgers have a potent offensive attack this year?

81st Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Western Michigan v Wisconsin Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Yesterday, Thomas Speth mentioned that wisconsin’s offense will be pretty good. Alex Hornibrook returning as QB passing to Jazz Peavy and Troy Fumagalli. An experienced offensive line returning seven linemen that started games.

Is wisconsin’s offense going to be as good we as advertised?

WSR: No. It’ll be decent, but there aren’t any really good players on that offense outside of Fumagalli. It shouldn’t be tough to get a hold on the reasons why they still succeed.

Candystripes: That depends. Is Wisconsin finally joining the 21st century and intending to field a real passing game, or are they going to continue being the plodding, 5 yards and a pound of beef running game offense they’ve been since at least 2001? Because it sounds like it’s the former, despite the immense success they’ve had with the latter.

LPW: Our wisconsin colleague usually backs up his boasts or predictions with the Badgers’ performance on the field. Quite frankly, it’s getting annoying.

Honestly, they’ll be a force to reckoned with with for a while. That offense looks potent, and if its any consolation i see the east division champ finding a way to shut it down in the CCG.

GF: Here, read this:

All about Gary Anderson making the Badger linemen smaller, and how Chryst is working to turn that around and move Wisconsin back to the monster power smash run game. And to that I say, yes please, more more more. The Wisconsin smash ‘em up ground attack is one of the prettiest things in CFB.

Jesse: Wait, are we seriously considering Wisconsin’s offense as legitimately great because they usually are okay? If you look at last year statistically, the Badger offense was middling at best. The run game was the foundation, and it still only averaged 4.32 YPC. Tack on the legitimately abysmal passing game, and I guess I’m confused as to what evidence we have that this team is going to magically become super offense.

Sure, you have a returning QB, and I’m with everyone else in giving Fumagalli his props, but that offense had an awful 14/10 split in TD/INT last year. So I guess, neat that you have a returning QB, but the signs here are that you still have no idea how to throw the ball effectively and the run game is just okay. Until you fix one of those to account for the mediocrity of the other, I think Wisconsin will need to rely on its defense to do damage.

Dead Read: Wiscy’s offense will NOT be as quick and strong as advertised. Please keep in mind that the advertisements come from the athletic department, via its favorite shills. Wiscy will have one of the three best defenses in the West, combined with the best running game...a combination that puts the Badgers in the catbird seat for the division. Future generations will not sing songs of the glory of this team. That said, they have probably got enough to beat Nebraska, Minny, and Iowa. Wisconsin, we will get you sometime. Time is on our side.

Townie: Jesse beat me to it. Without Cory Clement, Wisconsin might finish third in the west this year.

The truth is, they weren’t a great team last year. The bulk of their wins were under 10 points. This wasn’t a team that blew other teams out...except for Michigan State. Wisconsin absolutely rolled Sparty last year.

But seriously, they were fifth in the B1G in Points Scored per Game last year. Behind Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Minnesota.

Wisconsin scored 28.4 points per game last year. That was fifth in the B1G. Michigan led all teams with 40 points per game. Minnesota actually outscored Wisconsin (at 29.3 points per game) and Nebraska was right on their heels at 26.5 points per game.

At 5.5 yards per play, Wisconsin finished 7th in the B1G. They eked out that position by 0.1 yards per play over Nebraska and 0.2 yards per play over Northwestern.

I want to point out that this stat should scare the crap out of Wisconsin and the West in general. The teams that generated more offense per play were (in order): Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana, Michigan State, and Maryland...the entire eastern division.

In total yards per game, Wisconsin finished a dismal 8th in the B1G, behind Purdue, Indiana, and even Northwestern. They barely beat out we see a theme building here?

Now take away Clement, who contributed nearly 1,500 yards of offense and 15 touchdowns. That’s a quarter of their offensive production and one third of their touchdowns.

Nope, my gut (and the data) say that Wisconsin takes a big step back this year on offense. They miss Clement so much that they finish a close third behind Nebraska and Minnesota this year.

Aaron: I think we’ve seen Wisconsin go through enough tailbacks to know that the offense isn’t going to suffer too much from the loss of Clement. However, for the unit to take a step forward, Hornibrook needs to show that he’s someone capable of pushing the ball down the field and not just a guy who’s counted on to make a play on 3rd-and-5 with eight defenders in the box.

Speth: Unpopular opinion time, Corey Clement was overrated. There’s a reason Dare Ogunbowale found the field as much as he did last year. Would that have changed if he hadn’t been hurt his entire career? Quite possibly, but Braderick Shaw ran for almost a full yard a carry more behind the same line last year. Chris James has averaged more yards a carry in his career than Clement did last year and Pitt’s line wasn’t nearly as good. Losing Ramczyk isn’t fun, but Wisconsin returns 7 offensive lineman that have started in their career. That won’t be a problem. The real question is Alex Hornibrook. If he improves, the offense improves. Reports out of spring camp are that he has, and if he can make a leap Peavy and Fumagalli are proven receivers and this offense could be special. Personally I think the offense will be better, but it won’t be 2010-2011 levels of good. Also Wisconsin finishing 3rd in the West? April Fool’s Day was months ago.