Is Ohio State a Shoo-In For Big Ten Title? Watch out for Wisconsin

James StarkCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2008

Wisconsin was the laughing stock of the Big Ten before Barry Alvarez came to town. Since then, Wisconsin has become one of the more premier programs in the nation. Before the Badgers' 1993 title, their last title was in 1962.

Wisconsin made six total bowl appearances from 1889-1990, winning only once. Under Barry Alvarez, the Badgers appeared in 11 from 1991-2005, winning eight times, including three Rose Bowl titles.

However, the University of Wisconsin has only three conference titles since 1993. The Badgers have had the potential to win more, but somehow lose it at the end of the season.

That was the past, this is now, and Wisconsin is most well-equipped to dethrone the Buckeyes. Overall, Wisconsin has the veteran experience to match up with Ohio State.

Their biggest question is if Allan Everidge will play as well as his strong arm. The lefty showed a lot of talent for Kansas State coming in as a freshman.

Everidge transfered to Wisconsin before the 2005 season. Everidge has the best tight end in the country (the position, not the body part).

Travis Beckum, a converted defensive back was the leading pass catcher for the Badgers last season with 75 catches for 982 yards. With Beckum, the transition for Everidge should be easy.

You can't forget the Badgers' solid running attack with P.J. Hill and Zach Brown. Both had at least one 200-yard rushing performance, along with Lance Smith (whom was cut due to off-the-field issues).

However, Wisconsin gains a phenom in John Clay and could be the next big back for Wisconsin. Great young receivers, the best tight end (the position), a more experienced o-line, a strong arm, and a solid running game equal a potent offense.

The Badgers appear to be the only Big Ten team shying away from the spread offense completely. They have always been a smash mouth football team and I don't see that changing.

UW traditionally have always have had a superb offensive line and great runners. Ron Dayne, Michael Bennett, Anthony Davis, Brian Calhoun, and P.J. Hill to name a few.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will host a night game versus the Ohio State Buckeyes on Oct. 4, a game I will be attending along with the rest of the home games. Wisconsin has beaten Ohio State a few years back, when the Buckeyes were numero uno, at Camp Randall Stadium. Home field advantage will keep this game close.

I could see this game coming down to special teams. Wisconsin has a great returner in David Gilreath, but the kicking is what concerns me most. According to scouting reports, redshirt freshman Philip Welch has a strong leg that's capable of 50-yard field goals. However, with a big game on the line, I wouldn't feel so confident with the inexperience of Welch.

If this game were in Ohio, hand it over to the Buckeyes. Fortunately it's not, and Wisconsin will put up a fight. A night game in Madison against the Buckeyes has me pumped up already.

I'm not making any predictions but, this game will be no runaway. The Big Ten champ could be determined by the Oct. 4 game in Madison. The Michigan-Ohio State rivalry will always be the greatest rivalry. However, expect a great one between the Buckeyes and the Badgers.