Nebraska was the popular pick at Big Ten Football Media Days this week in Chicago to win the conference’s West division, along with Iowa. That leaves Wisconsin, in a role they haven’t been the past couple seasons, as an underdog, placing third among Big Ten media voters.
“People are just automatically counting you out for some reason,” said senior linebacker Chris Orr. “The reason? I don’t know, but for some reason.”
However, junior running back Jonathan Taylor will not be flying under the radar this season. He’s been tabbed as the preseason offensive player of the year.
“There’s always room for improvement,” said Taylor. “It’s up to you to figure out those things. It’s up to you to find out those areas of improvement that you can get better at in order to make yourself a better player.”
But outside of Taylor, the Badgers have a lot of question marks, including at quarterback where Jack Coan ended last season as the starter, but will be pushed by freshman Graham Mertz.
“I still think that the players will determine it more than what we will name,” said head coach Paul Chryst. “That’s what’s fun about competition.”
The Badgers also need to replace four starters on the offensive line and several on defense. All those question marks and a tough schedule have lowered expectations this season, at least externally.
“Our expecations are to win a National Championship and a Big Ten Championship,” said senior center Tyler Biadasz. “That’s our goal. It doesn’t change.”
Fall camp opens in less than two weeks for the badgers, with the season opener set for August 30th at South Florida.