It’s hard to believe, but Wisconsin Football is just around the corner. The Badgers haven’t won the Big Ten West since 2019 and will be looking to advance to Indianapolis for the title game. I believe in 2022 they can win the west division. Here are three reasons why.
Favorable Non-Conference Schedule
Last year was a tough beginning for Wisconsin. They had early season losses to Penn State, Michigan, and Notre Dame. Army also gave them all they could handle. The Badgers non-conference schedule this year is Illinois State, Washington State, and New Mexico State. Washington State will be a handful, but the I expect the Badgers to win this at home.
Assuming Wisconsin starts the year 3-0, September 24 looms a road test at Ohio State. I don’t think they win that, but a 3-1 start is what the Badgers could use. They had a bad record in 2021 early which gave them little room for error the rest of the way. It worked until a regular season finale loss at Minnesota.
Great Running Back Duo and Offensive Line
The strength of the Badgers will be running back and offensive line. Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi are one of the best duos in the country. However, both suffered injuries last season and were either out or not 100% by the end of the season. If they can stay healthy, this is a scary 1-2 punch.
Wisconsin’s offensive line is full of talent and experience. Jack Nelson and Joe Tippmann are almost locks to be NFL draft picks. Tanor Bortolini and Logan Brown have played a lot of games in their careers and should be starters as well. I expect the offensive line to control time of possession and short yardage situations. It’s the bread and butter of the Wisconsin offense. They should be able to take the sail out of most opposing defenses late in the fourth quarter.
New But Experienced Secondary
Wisconsin loses a lot of depth and talent from last years secondary. Faion Hicks was drafted by the Broncos and Caesar Williams also departs. Dean Engram was looked at being a top corner but has switched to wide receiver. Scott Nelson and Colin Wilder departed as well in the safety room.
The Badgers addressed the secondary depth by getting three players from the transfer portal. They added Cedrick Dort, Jay Shaw, and Justin Clark. Shaw looks to be a starter while Dort and Clark will certainly be on the mix. These are transfers from power five conferences so I don’t expect much of a learning curve.
The safety spots I believe will be John Torchio and Hunter Wohler. Torchio has been in the rotation for a few years now. Wohler is still raw as he played mainly special teams as a freshman last year. However, Wohler has the highest upside of anyone in the secondary room.
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