If it’s 1,000 degrees and crazy humid outside, it means we’re well into summer. Around OTE it means that we’re getting close to the end of the 2019 B1G Football Previews, and THAT means we must finally be getting to Wisconsin week. We’re filling you in on the best red-wearing team in the conference a little earlier than the past few years, but with your support, we’ll be back in our familiar spot in the second-to-last team preview in 2020!
2018: Noticeably F.A.T., rewind the tape!
The 2018 season included a dominating bowl win over a historical powerhouse P5 team, again. It also included an unstoppable rushing game performance, again. It was not a good season.
2018 featured the first loss to Minnesota in 15 years. Wisconsin lost to every ranked opponent they faced, except for Iowa because Iowa is terrible. Then again, Wisconsin also lost to BYU last year. 2018 was a bleak time, friends.
Wisconsin still somehow finished 2nd in the B1G West, won its bowl game, and finished 8-5. Jonathan Taylor was amazing, as was the entire offensive line in obvious running downs. The passing game generally underwhelmed despite all the attention Taylor took on, and Alex Hornibrook bid the campaign farewell by promptly transferring away. Saddest of all, 2018 was the final season for Wisconsin mustache and kicking hero, Rafael Gaglianone.
2019: The Offense
Jonathan Taylor returns, which generally means pain for everyone else. This is likely Taylor’s last college season, but he is on track to crush the college career rushing record over four years and has an outside chance to get it in three (this is referring to the NCAA-recognized record, the real record of course still belongs to Ron Dayne and is impossible to reach this season). Taylor will be running behind some newer names along the line as three departing starters now grace NFL rosters, but preseason All-American Tyler Biadasz returns to anchor the line at center.
Grandson-of-a-statue TE Jake Ferguson returns for perhaps his final college season as the biggest mismatch in a receiving group that returns almost everything but needs to improve on yesteryear. With Alex Hornibrook having opted to transfer to Florida State for his final season, Wisconsin is assured of having a new quarterback at the helm. Junior Jack Coan and HS All-American Bowl MVP Graham Mertz figure to be the main contenders, but Chase Wolf and Danny Vanden Boom will also make it a race.
2019: The Defense
Death, taxes, solid Badger linebackers. Despite losing three starters look for the LB corps to highlight the Wisconsin defense. Chris Orr is the latest Badger that seems to have been around forever and projects to lead the group in the middle. Jack Sanborn or Griffin Grady are likely to join him. On the outside Wisconsin returns Zack Baun, Noah Burks and Christian Bell as well.
The defensive line is notably top heavy. Garrett Rand returns after missing all of last season and joins NG Bryson Williams and DE Isaiahh Loudermilk. After that, well....all we know for sure is that these three need to stay healthy. Fortunately this is college football, where injuries are unlikely. Yep. Moving on.
The secondary returns pretty much everyone but D’Cota Dixon; however, this group as a whole struggles to separate itself from each other. Outside of Scott Nelson at safety, look for some position battles here in fall camp.
2019: The Special-est of Teams
As noted earlier, Rafael Gaglianone is gone. What’s the point.
A Look at The Schedule
So yeah. Let’s start with that non-conference schedule, which depends almost completely on Charlie Strong turning the corner at USF after a 7-6 year in 2018. USF is returning a lot from last season, but last season was...weird. That 7-6 record for USF reads chronologically, seven wins followed by six losses. Which USF will the Badgers get? Hopefully one that loses and then crushes everyone else. The bye week comes after two games which feels like ordering a pizza from the treadmill on January 2nd.
That conference schedule though, hoo boy. Wisconsin draws the toughest crossover games in the West with Michigan, MSU, and Ohio State on the schedule. The bright side to this is that there will actually be some home games worth going to this season, but the Badgers will need to be on their “A” game in the East to keep pace in the division race. At least they don’t have to play Wisconsin!
When Talking to a Wisconsin Fan
Do Mention: Jonathan Taylor, running the football, the Barge formation, fried food, Rose Lavelle, Paul Chryst interview answers, pretty much any recent Axe game besides the last one
Don’t Mention: That weird ‘18 Axe game, predictable play-calling, Foxconn, student section tardiness
What’s Wisconsin accomplishing this year?
This poll is closed
Just an Axe and a dream
lolz just here to troll