Wisconsin Badgers: FanSided offseason ranking – No. 17
Sure, the Badgers lost running back Jonathan Taylor, one of the best in the country, but there is a whole team coming back that’s ready to compete.
Wisconsin finished fourth in the country in total defense last season. Only Georgia, Utah and Ohio State allowed fewer yards per game than the Badgers. They only really lose two players from that defensive group in David Pfaff and Gunnar Roberge. While those two will be hard to replace, only losing two people from a top-five defense gives Wisconsin a huge advantage.
Jack Coan returns and is the likely starter, but extremely talented thrower Graham Mertz is still waiting in the wings. Coan is going to be the “safe” option who won’t kill you by throwing that terrible interception. However, there are some that think the upside of Mertz is hard to ignore. Either way, Wisconsin is doing just fine under center.
Nakia Watson is the player poised to replace the production of Taylor. He’s a dynamic back who has a much higher upside than his competition. Garrett Groshek will get his reps, but he’s a much better change of pace.
Their schedule is set up for success. Their hardest matchup is a game against Michigan in the Big House in September. They get to avoid Ohio State and Penn State. They also get last year’s surprise team Minnesota at home. I’m predicting Wisconsin to be in the College Football Playoff discussion until they take on the Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship Game.