4. Can the Badgers replace T.J. Watt and Vince Biegel?
Even with so many starters returning in 2017, there are a couple of positions on the roster that are of some concern for the Badgers.
The biggest drop-off on the defensive side will be at outside linebacker, where Wisconsin will have to replace a pair of stars. Senior Vince Biegel graduated following a productive career, while junior T.J. Watt is off to the NFL after recording 11.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss a year ago.
Replacing that sheer production is all but impossible, but Wisconsin at least has some talent left over at the position. Garret Dooley figures to take over at one spot after appearing in all 14 games a year ago and showing plenty of promise with 40 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
The other starting job is more up for grabs, with returners Zack Baun and Tyler Johnson locked in a tight battle for playing time. Both could be passed up in favor of JUCO transfer Andrew Van Ginkel, an early enrollee who piled up 13 tackles for loss last season at Iowa Western.
Friday’s game could have a big impact on the depth chart at outside linebacker, and the unit could be in great shape if Van Ginkel is ready to make the jump to Big Ten football.