Last year, Wisconsin took all of college football by surprise. Now with the addition of Russell Wilson, the Badgers aren’t sneaking up on anybody.
The date was October 16, 2010. The top ranked Ohio State Buckeyes were visiting Camp Randall Stadium to take on the pumped up Wisconsin Badgers. The time was 7:03 p.m. There was an electric atmosphere up in Section A and all throughout the stadium. What would come next would take myself and the entire stadium by surprise. David Gilreath received the kickoff, made one cut and took the opening kickoff all the way for a touchdown. As the stadium released a deafening roar, I turned to my friend and said, “I'm smellin’ roses.”
Last year, it took me until I was being trampled by Wisconsin students to realize the Badgers were for real and the same was true for the rest of the country. The same won’t happen with this year's Badgers. With the addition of former ACC Freshman of the Year Russell Wilson at quarterback and the returning backfield tandem of Monte Ball and James White, the Badgers won’t sneak up on anybody in the Big Ten.
But that doesn’t mean teams are going to be able to stop the Big, Bad Badgers.
The Badgers also will be a force on defense. They return their defensive line with the exception of JJ Watt, but they also gain Chris Borland after the stud linebacker was injured for the entire 2010 season. Aaron Henry returns to lead the secondary for Wisconsin thus completing a solid defensive unit for the Badgers.
The main competition for the Badgers this year will be the newcomers to the Big Ten. The Nebraska Cornhuskers boast a healthy Taylor Martinez and an intimidating defensive unit led by Jared Crick and Lavonte David. These two teams boast different styles offensively. Nebraska wants to spread you out and use the speed of Martinez and others to beat you. Wisconsin, on the other hand, uses raw power to pound the football with the running game. Both teams will be elite this year and are likely to meet again in November for the Big Ten Championship.
The date will be October 1, 2011. Nebraska will be playing their first Big Ten game inside Camp Randall Stadium and the outcome this time could have National Championship implications.