| Depth Chart |
Almost 15 years since the Badger program started to become a player
on the national scene, there's still a sense that this is nothing
more than an overachiever that isn't nearly as good as
its record. It's thought of as slow, pounding, and tough, but it's
not considered flashy or all that talented. That might have been the
case ten years ago, but now, nothing is further from the truth.
Which team has cranked out more NFL draft weekend picks over the last
six years: USC, Texas, LSU, Oklahoma, Michigan, Auburn, or
Yup, the Badgers lead the list with 31 players selected. That's one more than USC, two more than LSU,
three more than Oklahoma, nine more than Texas, six more than Michigan, and 12 more than
Auburn, who was supposed to be head-and-shoulders faster and more
athletic than the Badgers in the Capital One Bowl.
Fine, so going by NFL draft picks is hardly the
be-all-end-all-measure to judge how good a program is, but
it does show that Wisconsin gets athletic players who can run,
jump, hit, and do all the other things the players at other top programs do.
Head coach: Bret Bielema
Off. 18, Def. 29, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 18
Best Badger Players
1. OT Joe Thomas, Sr.
LB Mark Zalewski, Sr.
OG Kraig Urbik, Soph.
P Ken DeBauche, Jr.
DT Nick Hayden, Jr.
6. DE Matt Shaughnessy, Soph.
7. SS Joe Stellmacher, Sr.
8. QB John Stocco, Sr.
9. OG Andy Kemp, Soph.
10. DT Jason Chapman, Soph.
at Bowling Green
San Diego State
2005 predicted wins
at No Carolina
Michigan W 23-20
at Northwestern L 51-48
at Minnesota W 38-34
at Penn State L 35-14
Iowa L 20-10
Capital One Bowl
Auburn W 24-10
Instead of thinking of Wisconsin as a little engine that
could, it's time to raise the expectations for a program with nine
winning seasons in the last ten and 35 wins over the last four years.
It's time to start demanding more big wins, BCS expectations,
and more respect on a national scale even though the torch has been
passed from Barry Alvarez to Bret Bielema.
Many will once again underestimate the Badgers with only three
starters returning on an offense that loses the top seven pass catchers
along with touchdown machine Brian Calhoun, but the team is at a point
where it can reload. The new starting receivers could be among UW's
fastest ever, there are more than enough huge, pounding running backs to
carry the workload, and the line should be better with three legitimate
All-Big Ten candidates returning.
The defense struggled last season finishing 92nd in the nation, but that
was mostly because of a young line that never got healthy. Now there are
eight fantastic prospects up front, speed at outside linebacker and
corner, and steady All-Big Ten caliber players at safety and middle
So don't just look past Wisconsin in the Big Ten race and don't just
assume it can't play among the big boys. It is one of the big boys.
The Schedule: If
you want a schedule to make a sleeper run for the national title,
this is it if you believe Michigan isn't all that great and if the
Badgers can solve their recent problems against Iowa. There's no Ohio
State and no Michigan State, which is a good thing this season. The
non-conference schedule is a joke playing at Bowling Green and with
home games against Western Illinois, San Diego State and Buffalo.
Penn State and Minnesota have to come to Madison, and two of the
four conference road games are at Indiana and Purdue. That means it
might be a three-game schedule for a truly huge season: at Michigan on
September 23rd, at home against Penn State on November 4th, and at Iowa on November 11th.
Offensive Player: Senior OT Joe Thomas.
He likely would've been the second tackle taken in the 2006 NFL
Draft behind Virginia's D'Brickashaw Ferguson, but he suffered a
torn ACL helping out on defense against Auburn in the Capital One
Bowl. He's expected to be back and ready to roll later this summer
and an All-America lock.
Senior LB Mark Zalewski. Most Big Ten fans have no clue
who he is, but they will. He's a tackling machine with phenomenal
range, and now he should be an all-star with more help up front to
take some of the pressure off.
player to a successful season: Senior QB John Stocco. Back for his
third season as the starter, he has to be razor-sharp from day one
with a brand new receiving corps and backfield to work with. He was
better than he got credit for last year, but he also have 2006 NFL
draft picks Brian Calhoun, Brandon Williams, Jonathan Orr, Owen
Daniels and Jason Pociask to throw to.
season will be a success if ... Wisconsin wins at least a share
of the Big Ten title. There are way too many question marks to ask
for an unbeaten season, but the talent is there to go 10-2 and the
schedule is nice enough to reasonably shoot for a Big Ten title and
a BCS spot.
game: September 23rd at Michigan. The Badgers beat the Wolverines
for the first time since 1994 in a classic 23-20 battle in Madison.
Barring an upset, a win in Ann Arbor would likely mean a 9-0 start
before facing Penn State at home.
- Penalties: Opponents 95 for 833 yards - Wisconsin 71 for 613 yards
- Rushing touchdowns: Wisconsin 31 - Opponents 13
- Tackles for loss: Opponents 98 for 370 yards - Wisconsin 72 for
The Last Time Wisconsin…
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Capital One Bowl vs. Auburn)
…missed a bowl game…2001
…pitched a shutout…2005 (Temple)
…was shutout…1997 (Syracuse)
…scored 50 points…2005 (Temple)
…won a conference title…1999 (Big Ten)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…never
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Brian Calhoun)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2005 (Brandon Williams)
…had a first-round draft choice…2005 (DE Erasmus James)