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We all know they've been on a very good run the past few years. They've had a powerful offense and an above-average defense, and that has been good enough to win some conference titles. I respect what they've done so far, and I'm not being a hater.
That said, why are so many in the media treating them like a Rose Bowl favorite this year? They've lost six coaches, including the offensive coordinator and "running game coordinator" that made the Badgers such a potent offensive threat last year. That's a full two-thirds of their assistant coaching staff. They lost their best QB in recent history and their leading WR, as well as two stud offensive linemen.
I know what they have returning. The offensive line is still going to be one of the better units in the conference, and Ball is still a freak. Abbredaris is a very good WR with experience, and their latest free agent acquisition at quarterback looks passable.
But let's face it: Bielema was hardly the brains of the operation last year (see: clock management) and while their defense should be solid, it isn't going to carry them to a championship. I get that Ball and Abbredaris are proven commodities, but with so many other question marks I really can't see them doing better than 10-2, and 9-3 seems more likely. I get that OSU's ineligibility will allow them to pretty much walk into the CCG, but do they really match up that well against MSU, UM, or Nebraska? Am I missing something?
I really dont see the same question marks as you do but I recognize there are other question marks. And yes, Bielema is the brains behind it. He continues to hire amazing staffs. He has a knack for locating talent. For me, this isn't the big year, but the following year should be huge. Lets go position by position.
Quarterback- To me this is the 2nd biggest question mark on the team. Which Danny Obrien shows up? Does Joel Stave beat him out? Again, we dont need either of them to be Russell Wilson. They just need to be Scott Tolzien.
Runningback- deepest unit in the country. You have heisman finalist montee ball along with James White and a running back that has perhaps more natural talent than both of them in Melvin Gordon.
Tight End- Jacob Pederson returns. Last season as a sophomore he had 30 catches and 8 TD's. He is the truth.
WR- Like you said, Abbredaris is very good. Someone will need to step up as the #2. Chase Hammond looked good in the spring game.
Oline- huge strength once again. Ricky Wagner at LT projects as a 1st rounder. As does C Travis Frederick. RT Rob Havenstein played a lot last year in place of Josh Oglesby and a lot will argue that he was better. G Ryan Groy will have experience as well and I'm not worried about who fills the other guard spot.
DE- Deepest unit on the team by far. Return Brandon Kelly who was finally healthy last year and started to show his burst at the end of the year. We also return our best DE who missed last year due to injury, David Gilbert. He was looking like a beast last year before he got hurt. We will be rotating guys in as well who have a ton of experience.
DT- Another deep unit on the team. Our DT's have started since their freshman year and were very green as a result. But now they are juniors and they have been taking the next step at the end of last year and this spring.
LB's- Chris Borland is a stud. Only a Junior. Our other 2 have a ton of experience as well.
CB's- Biggest concern on the team. Return Marcus Cromartie who got burned repeatably in his first year of action in place of the injured Devin Smith. Devin Smith who missed the entire season last year will also play this year. Both need to step it up or Sophomore Peniel Jean could take their place. The ability of the Dline to rush quarterbacks throws will help the CB's.
Safeties- After Shelton Johnson and Dezman Southwards first year starting last year, they should be able to step it up.
As you can see we return a ton of guys. Most of our team last year were underclassmen. And most of this team are Juniors. Our defense should be lightyears better this year than last year. Our offense will undoubtably take a step back, though we should still be able to put up points. Last year was just ridiculous with Wilson, being able to score at will.
Because Saban is scared of Wisconsin
So because Bielema picked out one good coaching staff once, having to replace six of his nine assistants doesn't create a pretty big question mark in your mind? Sorry, I'm not buying it. I don't think Wisconsin is going to completely fall off, but I do think they're at most the third-best team in the conference.
Sounds like you're being a hater of the most successful coach in the B1G (just in the B1G, not Urban's work outside). He's great and will continue this juggernaught into the future. Young with potential to learn even more. He's here to stay atop the B1G with some others like OSU and UM.
As far as MSU, UM, or UNL - just don't see the threat. MSU lost its offense sanz Bell. I'll believe the hype about the OL when i see it. Aside from UM who we haven't played and won't play for a while (unless in the CCG), there is nothing MSU or UNL poses that scares anybody. UW, UM, MSU, and UNL are in the conversation, don't see the separation or questioning only one team. Plus it only takes one game to go the RB.
OSU is not eligible and PSU and Illinois have new coaching staffs. And IU was a smoldering ruin last year. I'd say Wisky could come close to winning that division this year with no coaching staff.
This post was edited by MrWoodson 2 years ago
Oh, they'll be able to back their way into the conference championship game no matter what. I just think. Any one of Nebraska, Michigan, or MSU would be favored.
He picked the staff before and the staff he picked now isn't chopped liver. He's lost staff before and recovered because it's about him, you just seem to shy away from giving credit where it's due. Markuson is immediately one of the best OL coaches in the B1G and the country. Not Bostad, but nobody is Bostad. Azzani is a major upgrade at WR coach. Buh was the LB coach at Stanford. Canada knows his QBs and how to put up numbers. The new hires are also a recruiting upgrade (besides the loss of Rudolph).
Following the transition closely; coaches, players, and fans are seeing a good transition. The offense is the same, the players are the same, defense will be improved, and most importantly the head man is the same.
I'm kind of scared of Purdue and Illinois. ILL coach has a lot of talent to work with. We get MSU at home and we're not losing unless everybody loses their si* all together. The reason UNL got blown out last year was not because of Wilson, it was because of Tmart sucking, UW running game, and the OC being horrible. Wilson was just the icing on the cake.
Say Wisconsin makes it to the CCG, it will only take one good game for them to go to the RB. The Legends teams aren't head and shoulders above Wisconsin. 60-40 at best. 50-50 imo.
I think you're underestimating them. Last year they were two Hail Mary passes away from playing in the BCSCG. And they were pretty good in 2010, even without Wilson. I don't think they will be as good this year as last year (especially on the offensive side) but they should be very competitive with UM/NEB/MSU. We all have holes to fill from last year and whoever does that best will probably win the conference.
Maybe I'd give him a little more credit if he had a basic understanding of timeouts. His staff (Bostad and Chryst in particular) has made him look good. It's entirely possible that his new staff will be comparable, but I don't think it's likely in their first year. Sure, he's had to replace coaches before, but you don't just keep on trucking after losing over half your assistants.
I agree on Illinois moreso than Purdue. IMO Illinois has more overall talent, especially on D, and Danny Hope just doesn't strike me as a very creative coach. You pretty much know what you are going to get with Purdue. OTOH Beckman could surprise people. I'm not saying Purdue can't knock a couple of better teams off, because they can, but Illinois is the one that worries me more.
I agree with the OP. I think Wisconsin will have a tough time without Chryst and the other coaches who left. The loss of Wilson is a big deal. They simply will not score as many points as last year. If they do, more power to them.
Last year Wisconsin lost every MEANINGFUL game away from Madison, except the conference title game. Losses @ MSU, @ OSU (who was 6-7), and their second consecutive Rose Bowl loss.Their first road game didn't occur until Oct 22. at MSU. They lost.
The 2012 OOC schedule does not offer many tests. Similar to last year. (N. Iowa, @Oregon St, Utah St, UTEP)
I'm guessing a loss at Nebraska, and 2 more conference losses. Wisconsin will lose 2 of the 5 following games:
vs IL, @Purdue, vs MSU, vs OSU, and @ PSU.
The Badgers will need to travel earlier this year. I think Badgers fans are looking at 9-3 or 8-4.
Purdue is dangerous at home. I could see them being 8-4 (5-3) and with the right tie-breakers making the CCG. Wisconsin has to go to Purdue, and they also go to Nebraska. If UW trips up @PSU, to MSU or @tOSU and loses those first 2 games, Purdue could find their way to the CCG.
I can see 6 big 10 teams ending up with 9-10 Ws: MSU - Nebraska - UM and UW - tOSU and Purdue. Just looking at the schedule I think everyone is going to have a couple conf. losses; 7-1 is going to win a division outright. I'd be surprised if anyone ended up with 11 reg. season Ws.
Look at the conf. games for each team above, vs. the teams above:
MSU: tOSU, @UM, @Wisconsin, Nebraska
Nebraska: Wisconsin, @tOSU, Michigan, @MSU
UM: @Purdue, Michigan State, @Nebraska, @tOSU
tOSU: @MSU, Nebraska, Purdue, @Wisconsin, Michigan
Wisconsin: @Nebraska, @Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State
Purdue: Michigan, Wisconsin, @tOSU,
Purdue missing Nebraska and MSU looks like it'll help them considerably: their other 5 Big 10 games are @Minnesota, PSU at home, @Iowa, @Illinois, Indiana.
Overall, the conf. looks like it'll be a bloodbath. I can't wait.
Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.
We had a discussion about Illinois last year. I happened to say until Ron Zook showed me something as a coach then I simply could not believe in Illinois. I now say the same thing about Danny Hope and Purdue. Danny Hope needs to show me he can get it done before I think of Purdue as anything other than a bottom feeder in the Big Ten.
Spartan fans sure do like to ridicule Bielema and minimize his success as a Head Coach. His record over the last 6 or 7 years has been nothing short of spectacular. I don't expect his teams to drop off anytime soon.
Only if you're Ohio State.
Spectacular? You do realize that BB is 2-4 in bowl games.
Bret was 12-1 in his first year. Last year was a very good team, but they lost 3 games, including 2 conference games. I'll give you 'very good,' or 'spectacular vs Wisconsin's history.' But spectacular? He's never finished the season ranked higher than 7th.
I'm sorry, but spectacular teams don't go 2-4 in bowl games. And they never lose to TCU - ever.
Go undefeated. Win a National Championship or two. That would be spectacular.
Throws flag for roughing the posters ... 15 yard penalty, automatic first down and no Rose bowl.
BB Is a cry baby asshat, the OP nailed it. They lose 4-5 games this year
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If he was a spectacular head coach, he'd know how to read a clock and he'd know when and when not to use a timeout. His downright awful clock management has cost Wisconsin quite a few games. If there's one thing pezfez is right about, it's that Bielema knows how to hire good assistants. Chryst and Bostad made him look good. I have no doubt that his new staff will be successful, and I fully expect Wisconsin to be a major contender again in a year or two. There are just a whole lot of signs pointing to a down year.
Wisconsin isn't just replacing one or two coaches. They're replacing six, and they're pretty major positions. They only have 10 returning starters, and they have a brand new quarterback. I still don't buy the whole "Wisconsin only needs a game manager because they won with Tolzien" bit. Tolzien was a senior, throwing to better WRs, behind a better OL, and that team still got spanked in East Lansing and lost to TCU in the Rose Bowl. They also barely squeaked by Arizona State and Iowa. That team was not on the same level as last year's, regardless of the hype or the win total.
I think people are really downplaying the role Russel Wilson played last year. He singlehandedly kept Wisconsin alive in the Big Ten Championship game and he put the team on his shoulders to come back against Illinois. If not for his 4th quarter heroics, the games against MSU and OSU wouldn't have even been close. There's going to be a dropoff. Wisconsin simply has to replace too much on both sides of the ball, as well as the bench.
The Ohio-Wisconsin game wasn't a hail marry. It was just a long pass.
Stealing Sparty's recruits and owning them on the field since 1898
Wisconsin also made huge fourth-quarter comebacks in both those "hail mary" games, and it was all due to Wilson taking over the game both times. O'Brien doesn't have that kind of ability.
Solid, intelligent contribution as always from Bucknuts nation.
If God dwells inside us, like some people say, I sure hope He likes enchiladas, because that's what He's getting
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