Ohio State's Downfall Already Making Wisconsin Stronger

Matt SmithContributor IIIJune 15, 2011

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 26:  Head coach Bret Bielema of the Wisconsin Badgers talks with the referee against the Michigan State Spartans on September 26, 2009 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When the news of Terrell Pryor and the Tattoo Five broke, many were pondering how such a thing could happen.

But at the first news of this scandal, many thought that the Tattoo Five would be punished and that would be it. End of story.

I mean, it's not the first time athletes have gotten caught accepting illegal (by NCAA standards) benefits.

The Ohio State squad was expected to start star freshman Braxton Miller through the first five games of the season and get Pryor and co. back in time to save the season.

But when more and more news of Jim Tressel got out, it was evident that Ohio State was on the decline. At least for this season.

Before all of this, the Big Ten announced that there would be two divisions within the conference.

The Legends Conference would include Northwestern, Michigan State, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa. Michigan State and Nebraska were the headliners here.

The Leaders Conference would contain Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin. The two top teams were supposed to be Ohio State and Wisconsin.

But with several things now happening, it seems that Wisconsin is benefiting from the Ohio State scandal.

Now, many are declaring Wisconsin the front runner to win the Leaders conference. But that's not all.

Reports have surfaced that top QB transfer Russell Wilson may be headed to Wisconsin, and the decision may come soon.

With QB being the biggest question mark, landing Wilson would put the Badgers over Ohio State.

The former NC State QB is a proven passer (albeit some accuracy question marks) who has adequate scrambling ability.

While he won't be as perfect for the system as Scott Tolzien was, he is certainly a notch above the QBs on the current depth chart.

Another recent story involving a recruiting battle also serves to show how Wisconsin is benefiting from Ohio State's fall.

Kyle Dodson, a four star offensive lineman for the class of 2012 according to Rivals.com, recently committed to the Badgers over the Buckeyes.

Dodson was quoted as saying, "It was hard turning down Ohio State."

In translation, what he's saying is that "I liked Ohio State but was scared off a little by all the recent things happening."

The Badgers have never been a recruiting powerhouse but in their first five commitments of the 2012 class, four of them are four star recruits according to Rivals.

The last time Wisconsin had four or more 4-star recruits was the class of 2009 in which they had five overall.

With the recent investigations against Ohio State and things looking upward for Wisconsin, it seems as though Wisconsin is going to get another shot at the Big Ten title.