College Football Predictions: Why Wisconsin Badgers Can Run Table in Big Ten
The Big Ten starts conference play in only a few weeks, and several teams look like they will be tough to beat come conference play.
The Wisconsin Badgers are one team that most believe will be in the thick of the Big Ten title race when the season begins to wind down. The Badgers have the talent and the experience to make a run for the title.
Here are five reasons why Wisconsin can run the table and control their own destiny in the Big Ten in 2011.
Wisconsin will have the luxury of playing two of its four toughest opponents at home at Camp Randall Stadium in 2011.
The Badgers play Nebraska and Penn State at home this season. The biggest game on the Badgers schedule, an Oct. 1st matchup against Nebraska, will likely go a long way towards deciding the Big Ten Champion.
If the Badgers win versus the Cornhuskers, they could very well go undefeated in the Big Ten season.
That is not to say that Michigan State and Ohio State are not tough games, but I like the Badgers' chances against those teams on the road over their chances of winning in Lincoln.
The rest of the schedule is not too tough, and Wisconsin should be able to take care of business.
Russell Wilson's Performance
Any doubts surrounding Russell Wilson's ability to still play quarterback after a year away from football are fast disappearing. Wilson has looked stellar in two games this season for the Badgers.
Granted, those performances were against mediocre defenses, but Wilson has looked nearly perfect in the first two games. His accuracy is excellent, and he's completing a very high percentage of his pass attempts.
His scrambling ability is an upgrade over former Badger quarterbacks, and he seems to have not lost any skills since his days at North Carolina State. If Wilson can keep up this pace, the Badgers offense will be difficult to stop, even for the Big Ten's tougher defenses.
Return of Chris Borland
The return of linebacker Chris Borland will prove to be a great boon to the Badgers defense. Wisconsin lost Borland for all of 2010 to injury. He would have played a major role on last year's squad.
In 2011, Borland is back and is already one of the better players on the Badgers defense. He was a preseason All-Big Ten selection and will be the leader of the unit this season.
His athleticism and smarts will help Wisconsin keep opponents out of the end zone.
Dominant Running Game
Wisconsin is well-known for having a punishing rushing attack each year. The Badgers have always seemed to have a great running back toting the ball in the backfield. They also possess one of the conference's best offensive lines year in and year out.
This year is no different, as junior Montee Ball and sophomore James White form a dynamic duo for the Badgers in the backfield. Ball has looked especially good through two games, displaying a leaner frame compared to last season.
As a result of his lighter playing weight, Ball looks quicker and more elusive this season. He is one of the better backs in the Big Ten this season, and that is saying something.
If Ball and White can stay healthy, the Badgers offense will continue to run over opponents.
The Leaders Division
The new alignment that the Big Ten is now under breaks the teams down into two divisions. Wisconsin finds itself in the Leaders Division, which includes Penn State, Ohio State, Illinois, Purdue and Indiana.
Looking at the division on paper, the Badgers have a great chance to run the table in their division. Illinois, Purdue and Indiana are not legitimate threats to Wisconsin. Penn State and Ohio State look good this season, but I do not think either team has what it takes to overtake the Badgers in the standings.
This means that if Wisconsin plays up to its abilities, they should find themselves winning the Leaders division and a place in the Big Ten Title game.