Making the case for...Wisconsin
As the season approaches, we decided to count down why five teams will win their respective Big Ten divisions. Three reasons apiece will break down why each respective team can punch a ticket to Indianapolis.
Today, we’ll look at Wisconsin’s reasons it’ll win the West.
1. Revived Stave
Perhaps the main reason Wisconsin isn’t in the same conversation as Michigan State and Ohio State is because of quarterback play. Joel Stave has had his share of accuracy issues. He dealt with the yips, which made the quarterback position less stable than it’s been in years past. A reunion with Paul Chryst will give all the confidence Stave needs to assert himself in the Badger offense. They’ll still rely heavily on Corey Clement in the ground game, but Stave’s game will see noticeable growth under Chryst’s tutelage.
2. Thou Shall Not Pass
In case you didn’t know, Wisconsin’s secondary is loaded. Michael Caputo is one of the top safeties in the country and will make Big Ten wideouts think twice before crossing the middle. Darius Hillary and Sojourn Shelton are steady, veteran corners that make all the necessary plays. The only unknown is converted quarterback Tanner McEvoy, who will start opposite of Caputo at safety. But all reports out of camp have raved about the senior’s transition to his new position. To have that much experience back for a secondary that was fourth in the country in passing yards allowed is a major bonus for the Badgers.
3. No Spartans or Buckeyes
Every championship team needs some degree of luck. Wisconsin is lucky it doesn’t have to face Michigan State or Ohio State. Instead, it has crossover showdowns with Maryland and Rutgers. Wisconsin will not face a challenge in the Big Ten slate that rivals the opener against Alabama. The Badgers shouldn’t have too much difficulty rolling through the home slate against the likes of Iowa, Purdue, Rutgers and Northwestern. The two biggest hurdles will be trips to Lincoln and Minnesota. Both of those teams have crossovers with either Michigan State or Ohio State. The road certainly isn’t paved clear for the Badgers to win the West, but it’s much clearer without potential roadblocks in Columbus and East Lansing.