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Wisconsin 2023: Schedule, Record Prediction

Lotta different ways the season could go

Judging by the student section, this clearly wasn’t taken any time near kickoff...

I’ve been beating it into your head all week: lots of new stuff in Madison this year, hard to know what’s going to happen. Even if the long-term plan is sound, year 1 is likely to have some speed bumps as the plan and the personnel get used to each other.

Vegas-types seem fairly high on UW. Looking at one composite site, Wisconsin seems to check in at #18, at least in terms of CFP odds. That site had conference odds for all conferences except the B1G, but elsewhere I see UW tied for 3rd with Penn State at +600 (with Ohio State at +170 and Michigan +180). Obviously that’s a function of divisional imbalance as nobody thinks PSU and UW are equal this year. Beyond that, it’s probably also a function of 1) inertia and 2) schdule.

UW has been among the favorites to win the West ever since the conference dropped the Legends/Leaders approach. And, since nobody really dominated in the West last year, seems like Vegas is just assuming structural conditions in Madison are still good enough to tab them as favorites even with all the upheaval. Guess we’ll see.

Indisputably, though, the schedule is set up nicely for the Badgers:

The Case for 10-2

Last year’s team probably should’ve been 8-4, there’s plenty of talent back, and a LOT more talent has arrived via the portal than left. Phil Longo is not stupid, and the personnel is there for the Air Raid scheme to allow Allen and Mellusi to run wild much of the season. Tanner Mordecai provides an efficient presence as QB. The 3-3-5 is not THAT much different that the 3-4, the special teams are better, and the Badgers surge to an outright West title, stumbling only at home to OSU (totally forgivable) and one other loss (Iowa? Illinois?). Luke Fickell proves he “gets it” by rolling out a couple of wrinkles for the season finale, and the Badgers reclaim the Axe. B1G title game is competitive in the fourth quarter and the Badgers are playing on New Year’s Day.

The Case for 5-7

The new system proves to require a long runway, and the personnel just isn’t a good fit, especially on the OL. Iowa and Illinois both make a living in the UW backfield, and this comes after Purdue—behind a frenzied Friday night crowd in the B1G opener—ends their long losing streak to the Badgers. Add in a road loss to Wazzu, and the Badgers are 3-5 heading into November. Wins over Indiana and Northwestern seem to right the ship, but Matt Rhule has saved a couple of wrinkles for his fellow first year coach, and then the Badgers crash out against Minnesota for the third straight year, this time snapping a 21 year consecutive bowl streak in the process.

Personally, I’ll split the difference and say 8-4, but I’m probably too close, so let’s see what the “writers” think:

Buffkomodo: Give me 6-6. UW wasn’t world beating last season. You have a new coach with a new style of play. There’s enough crap on the schedule (Buffalo, Georgia Southern, Rutgers, Northwestern, @Indiana) that you should be able to find 1 more win in the schedule. Given the situation, that’s probably all you should realistically hope for and then be excited if it’s even better.

BoilerUp89: 7-5 but that non-conference slate, IU/RU crossovers, and drawing most of the challenging B1G games at home are all favorable scheduling for the Badgers so 8-4 feels more likely than 6-6.

RockyMtnBlue: 7-5, with 8 wins more likely than 6. I have no friggin’ clue what’s going on with this program or the rest of the west. That seems like a nice middle-ly prediction. Have I mentioned how much I’m going to miss the west division next year?

MC ClapYoHandz: Count me in for 10-2. No, this team was not very good last year, but that was based on two things: complete lack of a passing attack and an inability to gameplan for what the opposing defense is giving them. Well, fast forward a few months and the game planner has been replaced by the biggest coaching candidate of the last few years, the offense is commandeered by one of the most prolific coordinators in football, and the QB and WR rooms are now overflowing with talent (especially by Wisconsin standards). Now I’ll acknowledge that I don’t think the offense in particular will be the juggernaut it’s capable of being instantly, but I’ll also acknowledge that Longo offenses are highly productive even in Year 1. I don’t think Top 25 in total offense is out of the question.

I actually think they’ll go 9-3 but I’m tacking on a homer win because why not? As others have noted, the schedule is not daunting save for a couple obvious exceptions. If people really see 6-7 losses on that schedule I’d definitely want to hear which individual games get them there.

Dead Read: The cupboard is not bare in Madison, and they have added an accomplished staff — that is the plus side. On the negative side, radical changes in philosophy are never seamless. They will need a year to smooth things out. I have Wiscy at seven or eight wins. This take is wholly vibe-based.

MNW: 8-4 (6-3). There’s a loss lurking in that non-conference, I’m 29.4% sure of it.

After that? C’est la Big Ten West.

HWAHSQB: Generally, I take the unders on new coaches implementing new systems, but the cupboard isn’t bare and that schedule isn’t bad. I really want to go with 7.5 wins, but I guess I need to make a choice so put me down at 8-4 (6-3).


In the Big Ten?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    2-7 or worse
    (11 votes)
  • 3%
    (10 votes)
  • 6%
    (20 votes)
  • 19%
    (60 votes)
  • 31%
    (94 votes)
  • 35%
    7-2 or better
    (107 votes)
302 votes total Vote Now



This poll is closed

  • 2%
    4-8 or worse
    (7 votes)
  • 2%
    (8 votes)
  • 2%
    (8 votes)
  • 14%
    (42 votes)
  • 22%
    (65 votes)
  • 35%
    (104 votes)
  • 20%
    10-2 or better
    (59 votes)
293 votes total Vote Now