Odds and Schedule
Wisconsin was a couple plays away from making a memorable first season for Gary Andersen, but they ended up finishing with nine wins despite poor quarterback play. The Badgers should’ve beaten Arizona State early in the season, and then faltered to Penn State in their final home Game.
This season, it could be a similar situation even though they only have eight returning starters. The one thing Wisconsin was good at last year, could be even better this year. On the offensive side, they return almost all of their linemen along with stud running back Melvin Gordon (1,609 yards, 12 TDS), who could’ve easily declared for the NFL Draft this past year. While James White is gone, Corey Clement should fit in ably to supplant Gordon when needed.
Wisconsin is listed at odds of 30 to 1 to win the National Championship at sportsbook.ag. That places them around 12th in the nation according to the odds. So the resprct is there from bettors and oddsmakers, for a winning season in 2014.
The question for Wisconsin will once again be at quarterback where Joel Stave is set to start again, and he’s still a work in progress. However, due to an ongoing injury from last season’s bowl Game, Stave opened the door for dual threat Tanner McEvoy and the spot is up in the air. With Jared Abbrederis, Jacob Pedersen and White gone, their receiving Game takes a big hit with last season’s top three targets not on the roster.
Defensively, it’s the same situation with only three starters returning. The line will be led by Warren Herring, who can play nose guard and also end to mix things up. Vince Biegel and Derek LAndisch need to step up at linebacker where Chris Borland was a force last season. The secondary returns three starters, which should help as that was probably their worst unit a season ago.
With all of the turnover, Wisconsin couldn’t have been luckier with their Schedule as it’s one of the easiest in the Big Ten. The Badgers get to skip out on the top Four projected teams in the East, while getting newcomers Maryland and Rutgers. That means they don’t have to face Ohio State or the two Michigan schools. The Schedule couldn’t look better for these guys outside of that opening Game against LSU.
If Wisconsin can figure out their quarterback by that opening Game, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them win that first Game as LSU will be harboring a mostly new offense. Then again, the Tigers can easily focus on the Badgers’ running Game and make Stave/McEvoy beat them which isn’t a given. From there, Wisconsin has a decent shot to go undefeated in the Big Ten and if it happens, not many people will be giving them respect due to their lack of Schedule difficulty. Expect plenty of blowouts from the Badgers, especially if they can figure things out at quarterback.
2014 Wisconsin Football Schedule
Aug. 30 vs. LSU (in Houston)
Sep. 6 vs. Western Illinois
Sep. 20 vs. Bowling Green
Sep. 27 vs. South Florida
Oct. 4 at Northwestern
Oct. 11 vs. Illinois
Oct. 25 vs. Maryland
Nov. 1 at Rutgers
Nov. 8 at Purdue
Nov. 15 vs. Nebraska
Nov. 22 at Iowa
Nov. 29 vs. Minnesota