With the annual Cardinal-White spring scrimmage now just days away, football season is officially underway in Madison.
And this year, expectations couldn't be higher. After finishing the 2009-10 season with a 10-3 record and with almost all key starters returning, the Wisconsin Badgers seemed poised for a big 2010.
And, going hand in hand with that, a few Badgers seem like they are in a great position to put up huge numbers.
Who might those players be? Take a look...
With all four top receivers returning and a more-than-capable Lance Kendricks stepping in for the NFL-bound Garrett Graham, senior quarterback Scott Tolzien couldn't be in a better position to succeed.
Despite coming in as a first-year starter last year, Tolzien put up more than respectable numbers, throwing for over 2,700 yards and 16 touchdowns.
With another year in the offense and a growing confidence, Tolzien, with some help from his talented receiving corps, could be in the running for All-Big Ten honors.
A perfect fit for Wisconsin's dynamic offense.
With the loss of Garrett Graham, Wisconsin will be without one of their most consistent targets for the first time in years. But senior tight end Lance Kendricks is more than ready to step into Graham's shoes.
As Graham's backup last year, Kendricks caught a respectable 29 passes for three touchdowns, and he shined in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Expect those kind of performances to continue. Kendricks is faster and more athletic than Graham ever was and should have no problem adapting to a starting role.
Photo courtesy of Scout.com
No surprise here. Junior running back John Clay, coming off his Big Ten Offensive Player of Year season, should be in prime form in 2010. Last year, he ran for almost 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns. A repeat of those numbers isn't out of the question.
Although he will be coming off right ankle surgery, don't expect Clay to miss a beat.
If the offensive line opens up holes like they can and Clay hits the holes and runs over tacklers like he can, expect another Big Ten Offensive POY and a possible Heisman run.
With the departure of star defensive end O'Brien Schofield, Wisconsin loses possibly their best defensive player in years.
But, like Kendricks at tight end, senior defensive end J.J. Watt should be more than capable of stepping in. Last year, Watt recorded 44 tackles and 4.5 sacks and should only see those numbers improve in 2010.
As the leader for what will be a somewhat inexperienced defensive line, Watt is in great position to establish himself as one of the premier defensive linemen in the Big Ten.
As last year's Big Ten Freshman of the Year, sophomore outside linebacker Chris Borland should be a stud for Wisconsin's defense in 2010.
Borland recorded 54 tackles and five sacks last year, and much like Kendricks on offense, shined in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Not even a starter to begin the season in 2009, Borland should put up huge numbers if he starts all 12 games in 2010.
All-America? Certainly a possibility.