Last year, Kirk Herbstreit made a bold prediction.
The ESPN college football analyst made a surprising call that Minnesota would win the B1G West. In Herbstreit’s defense, the Gophers ended up winning nine games and Wisconsin had that loaded schedule.
This year, however, Herbstreit decided to just go with the obvious pick of Wisconsin.
He had some favorable things to tweet about the Badgers:
Love the Badgers this year. Favorable schedule. Should be in Indy! Best team Paul has had in his 3 years IMO. https://t.co/d7PQqh349s
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) July 16, 2017
Herbstreit could easily end up being right about all three of those things.
The team’s only crossover showdown is at home against Michigan and the toughest non-conference game is a road tilt at BYU.
The Badgers are likely to be the only B1G West team that starts the season ranked in the top 25. Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska all will have new starting quarterbacks, which make them a bit of an unknown.
Wisconsin, of course, returned quarterback Alex Hornibrook along with the majority of its starting lineup on both sides of the ball. Jack Cichy and Chris Orr are also back after both suffered season-ending injuries in 2016.
Will it wind up being Paul Chryst’s best Wisconsin team yet? That remains to be seen. Last year’s squad did win 11 games, including a New Year’s Six bowl.
But Herbstreit was right. There’s a lot to like about the Badgers in 2017.