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Wisconsin is going to be an enigma for much of the spring, at least until we can get a first look at the Badgers during their spring game.
You would think that with 15 returning starters, there's more than enough reason to believe the Badgers can make a run towards their third straight outright Big Ten title (and four straight counting the shared 2010 title with Michigan State).
But the losses Wisconsin had following the 2012 season are as big as the get. First, FBS rushing touchdowns record-holder Montee Ball is off to the NFL. Gone, too, is quarterback Curt Phillips, center Travis Frederick, and a good portion of the secondary.
Oh yeah, head coach Bret Bielema ditched the program, too.
And we can't forget that Wisconsin really wasn't all that good in 2012. The only reason the Badgers even had a shot to find their way to the Rose Bowl this past season was because the top two teams in the Leaders Division were ineligible to participate in the Big Ten Championship Game; not only did Wisconsin back into the title game thanks to Ohio State's ineligibility, the Badgers backed their way through the back door thanks to Penn State also being ineligible.
While Ohio State and Penn State will continue under NCAA sanction in 2013, Ohio State's bowl ban has expired.
With a new coaching staff, at this point we just don't know what to expect from Wisconsin. One thing we do know is that head coach Gary Andersen (from Utah State) is going to have to find some new offensive muscle for 2013.