Wisconsin Shows Up on Early Top 25 Lists
Last year after Alabama beat Georgia in a dramatic National Championship game, Wisconsin showed up in the top five in the ‘Way Too Early Top 25 for 2018′. It was an exciting time. People thought this year would result in the Badgers making the College Football Playoff. It did not happen. Wisconsin failed to meet those expectations and ended up being out of the Top 25 for the latter part of the season. Badgers disappointed at various points of the season including a tough finish to the year. This year, it’s a bit different as the Badgers return to a familiar spot around the final five in the early Top 25.
Both The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel and ESPN’s Mark Schlabach have the Badgers ranked in the 20’s for next season. That’s fair for me to start the year. They lost a bit on the offensive line with David Edwards going pro and Michael Dieter leaving school. Tyler Badisaz returning is a major boost for them and having another year of Jonathan Taylor is going to help things. Defensively, Wisconsin loses T.J. Edwards, Ryan Connelly and Andrew Van Ginkel which are all linebackers. The defensive line was super young last year and now, it’s the linebackers turn. Wisconsin will definitely have their work cut out for them in replacing talent, but they’ve proven that to not be a problem.
Wisconsin’s schedule is not easy by any shape of the imagination next season. Badgers will host Michigan in an early season showdown that could help define the season, and you know the blowout loss last year remains fresh in the Badgers’ minds. They also will head to Ohio State in late October and host Michigan State. All three games are not easy for the Badgers. Add the Big Ten West into the equation, and they have a road trip to Nebraska late in the year that seems more daunting than it looks right now.
Could Graham Mertz change some of this? Maybe. But it’s way too unpredictable to assume that he will get a shot and be awesome in college right off the bat. Not everyone is Trevor Lawrence.