The Wisconisn Badgers are the defending Big Ten West champions and have a challenging schedule in 2020. These include road games at Northwestern which has been a daunting task as of late, at Michigan early in the season, and finishing the season at Iowa. However, the Badgers are in a good position to repeat as Big Ten West champions and clinch a spot in Indianapolis in December. In this article, we will look at three reasons why the Badgers will be the team to represent the Big Ten West in Indianapolis.
Veteran Offensive Line
Wisconsin needs to replace three starters on the offensive line. Tyler Biadasz was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys. David Moorman and Jason Erdmann will also need to be replaced. Early signs show Tyler Beach, Kayden Lyles, and Josh Seltzner to potentially line up with likely starters Cole Van Lanen and Logan Bruss to start the season. These five individuals have a combined 144 appearances in their careers. This should help the running game early in the season as they need to replace Jonathan Taylor. The Wisconsin offensive line doesn’t rebuild. Instead, they re-load. The offensive line should be in good shape coming into the 2020 season.
Majority Of The Defense Returning
Speaking of replacing key contributors, Wisconsin needs to replace two very productive linebackers from a year ago. Outside Linebacker Zack Baun was selected in the third round by the New Orleans Saints. Inside Linebacker Chris Orr was signed by the Carolina Panthers. Baun and Orr helped the Wisconisn defense end as the fourth ranked defense in the county last year. Even though they are gone, the other nine starters return this year. Wisconisn presents a ton of depth on the defensive line and in the secondary. Assuming there are no major injuries in these positions, Wisconsin should have a productive year on the defensive side of the ball.
Wisconsin has become one of best linebacker units in the county. Players such as Joe Schobert, Vince Biegel, Ryan, Connelly, and T.J. Edwards have heard their names called in the NFL draft and have made 53 man rosters as of last year. Wisconsin will have some inexperience at linebacker early in the year, but expect junior linebacker Jack Sanborn to be the leader of the group this year. Wisconsin has a great chance to have one of the best defenses in the Big Ten when the season comes to an end.
The Coaching Staff
Paul Chryst is entering his sixth year as the Wisconisn head coach. All Chryst has done in his tenure is win. Chryst has a 52-16 record in record his first five seasons. In his five years, he has been to three Big Ten championship games and has won two New Years Six bowl games. This includes the 2017 Cotton Bowl and the 2018 Orange Bowl. Chryst and offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph run an offense that puts an emphasis on the run game and includes a fullback. No team in the county runs this form of offense better than Wisconisn.
The defense is run by Jim Leonhard, a former Wisconisn safety and 10 year NFL veteran. Leonhard has become a popular name for college head coaching jobs over the last few years as well. Leonhard had consistently put a top defense in the county on the field every year during his tenure as the defensive coordinator. At the end of the day, I will take Paul Chryst and his staff when the Big Ten West is on the line.
The Big Ten West is going to be challenging in 2020. Minnesota has a solid team coming back on the offensive side of the ball and Iowa is always near the top of the standings every year. We are not sure what Northwestern will bring this year, but Wisconsin does not have a history of playing well in Evanston either. Regardless of the schedule, Wisconisn has shown the Big Ten West is their division to lose. Wisconisn should come into the season as the favorite to win the 2020 Big Ten West.
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