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Big Ten Conference 2011-2012 Football Previews: Wisconsin Badgers

Head Coach: Bret Bielema

2010 Record: 11-2

Wisconsin Gambling Odds from JustBet to win BCS: +3,000

Wisconsin Odds from JustBet to win Big Ten Leaders Division: +125

Wisconsin Odds from JustBet to win Big Ten Conference Championship: +200

 

The Wisconsin Badgers took a huge step forward last year, but they might have an even better opportunity in 2011. Ohio State is in a lot of hot water, and the Big Ten is ripe for the taking. Can Wisconsin become a perennial power in the Big Ten? The talent is there for the Badgers to be the best in the conference this season.

Offense:

The Badgers always have a tremendous offensive line, and I expect no different this season. Through the offseason the Badgers had one big question mark on offense. Who was going to play the quarterback position? It turns out the Badgers had one of the best signal callers in the nation fall right into their lap when Russell Wilson joined the team late in the spring. Wilson excelled at NC State with far lesser talent around him, and I expect him to be a very good quarterback for Wisconsin.

No team in America has a better duo of running backs than Wisconsin. James White and Montee Ball are both terrific runners who will chew up defenses all year long. Nick Toon gives the Badgers a high quality receiver on the outside.

Defense:

Wisconsin will be great on offense, but the defense will need to be solid if this team is going to reach its full potential. J.J. Watt was a star, and the defensive line will definitely miss him. Wisconsin may struggle to put pressure on the opposing quarterback this year. Fortunately, the Badgers do have a very strong secondary. Aaron Henry leads a very deep and talented group in the secondary. Chris Borland was injured most of last year, but he should be back and ready to go this season. Borland has the potential to be one of the better defensive players in the conference.

Wisconsin Team Strength:

The Badgers have a dominating rushing attack. This is a front line that will open up huge running lanes, and the Badgers have two of the best tailbacks in the country. Wisconsin is the type of team that can run the football effectively even when the opposition knows it is coming.

Wisconsin Team Weakness:

Will the defensive line be good enough this year? Watt accounted for 21 of the Badgers 66 tackles for loss in 2010, so they’ll need the rest of this group to step up in 2011. In addition, there is no huge run stuffer in the middle of the line.

2011 Wisconsin Football Prediction: 13-1

I’m buying into the Badgers program staying at the top of the Big Ten this year. Wisconsin gets Nebraska and Penn State at home. They must travel to Ohio State, but who knows what the state of that team will be in late October. I think +125 is a great value on the Badgers to win the Big Ten Leaders Division. In fact, I think Wisconsin is worth a small play at +3,000 to win the BCS Championship. I expect the Badgers to be very tough to beat this season.

Other Resources:

Betfirms– Wisconsin finishes 11-1

 

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