Wisconsin Football: 5 Questions for the Badgers in 2012
With the 2011-12 season in the books, Bret Bielema and the Badgers are facing more questions heading into next year than any other Wisconsin team in recent memory.
UW is losing their star quarterback, their offensive coordinator and a bevy of assistant coaches.
If the Badgers are going to continue on as one of college football's elite teams, here are five questions they need to find a good answer to.
Who Will Replace Russell Wilson?
After just one season under center, Russell Wilson leaves Madison as arguably the best quarterback to ever play for the Badgers.
Elite 11 quarterback prospect Bart Houston (Concord, CA), has committed to Wisconsin, but it's a stretch to believe he'll fill the void left by Wilson as a true freshman.
That leaves junior Jon Budmayr, sophomore Joel Stave and the oft-injured Curt Phillips as the three viable but unproven options for Bret Bielema in 2012.
Who Will Replace Paul Chryst?
Regardless of who takes the snaps for the Badgers in 2012, they will be doing so under the tutelage of a new offensive coordinator.
That's because Paul Chryst, who served as the architect of the Badgers' high-powered offense over the past six seasons, is leaving Madison to become head coach of the Pitt Panthers.
Finding adequate replacements for Wilson and Chryst is key to the Badgers' prospects next season.
What Will the Rest of the Sideline Look Like?
Badger head coach Bret Bielema has his hands full assembling his staff for 2012 after Chryst's departure led to a mass exodus of Wisconsin assistants.
Offensive line coach Bob Bostad, tight ends coach Joe Rudolph and linebackers coach Dave Huxtable are all joining Chyst in Pittsburgh.
Wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander is joining former Pitt coach Todd Graham's staff at Arizona State.
Replacing Chryst and the four others won't be easy, but it will be key to keeping Wisconsin firing on all cylinders next season.
Is It Possible for the Badgers to Lose the Leaders Division?
Despite all of the questions and uncertainty surrounding UW heading into 2012, the Badgers will likely still be the preseason favorite to repeat as Leaders Division champions next season.
Ohio State is on probation with a new head coach in Urban Meyer, Penn State is in disarray, Illinois has a new head man, Purdue is still a year or two away from competing on a consistent basis and Indiana is Indiana.
Can the Badgers Get over the Hump?
Back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances are great. Two straight heartbreaking losses to end the season in Pasadena, not so much.
Bret Bielema has Wisconsin on the cusp of greatness, but the Badgers aren't quite there yet.
If UW is ever going to make the leap to unquestioned elite status, they need to win a BCS game.