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It has been the best of times in Buckyland lately. The last losing season is 2001, and while the team has had their share of setbacks,an argument could be made that the program has been the second best program in the conference over the last decade. Mind you, the best team over the last decade hails from Columbus, routinely chokes in BCS games, and occasionally chokes our quarterback, but here's hoping the 2010's belong to a team not wearing the Scarlet and Gray. I prefer the Cardinal and White, but anything's better than the current champs.
For the first time in a while, the Badgers return a quarterback that doesn't scare the crap out of me. Scott Tolzien had a fantastic season last year, especially considering no one had this kind of expectations for him, except maybe him and close family. I'm happy to be wrong in cases like this. If he goes down, God help us. John Clay is another in a long line of workhorse backs, but he's not the only one that can shoulder the load. Montee Ball is a sophomore that got a lot of touches last year, and can take over if need be. Nick Toon provides solid work at wide receiver, and hopefully he'll be another in a line of receivers that this school somehow produces while focusing on the running game. Speaking of which, you must be new around here if you're worried about the offensive line.
Losing O'Brien Schofield hurts, obviously, but the defensive line always seems to make things happen. JJ Watt will be stepping up to take the playmaker role on the line. We'll forgive Chris Borland for being from Ohio, simply because the sophomore makes plays, and makes them often. The secondary is in a state of flux, with Aaron Henry playing safety next to Jay Valai, a big hitter, with Niles Brinkley trying to live up to expectations at corner.
Phillip Welch and Brad Nortman handle the kicking chores well, and the Badgers have a few talented returners to keep Big 10 special teams coaches awake at night.
10/16 vs. Ohio State
10/23 at Iowa
Duh. Besides a loss in Evanston, where our defense is apparently not allowed to enter the stadium, these were the two teams that dealt the Badgers losses. The Badgers last beat Iowa in 2007, and last beat Ohio State in 2004.
Stay tuned for a Big 10 roundtable discussion post, coming soon.