Wisconsin finished third in the Leaders Division with a 4-4 record but with Ohio and Penn State on probation got the chance at the Big Ten title. The Badgers rolled Nebraska in the conference title game earning a spot in the Rose Bowl which they lost 20-14 to Stanford.
After winning a third straight conference title they lost their head coach to Arkansas which brought Barry Alvarez out of retirement to coach in Pasadena. They hired Gary Andersen who previously was at Utah State to lead the program.
Gone is Montee Ball who rewrote the school’s record books during his time in Madison. Andersen inherits 14 starters from last year’s team with eight on offense and six on defense.
Trying to replace Ball will be senior James White and sophomore Melvin Gordon who were second and third in rushing a season ago. White ran for 806 yards reaching the end zone 12 times, Gordon had 621 with three scores.
Sophomore Joel Stave looks to be the starter at quarterback, he had a team high 1,104 passing yards six TD’s to three interceptions. Expect the team to remain a power run team first that’s been successful under Alvarez and continued with Brett Bielema.
On defense the team’s leading tackler is gone but three of the top four tacklers are back. Chris Borland who had 104 tackles with 4.5 sacks will lead the D.
The Badgers are playing a PAC-12 opponent for the fourth straight season which includes a return visit to Arizona State who Wisconsin beat 20-19 in the 2010 season. The teams play September 14 in Tempe at 7:30 pm on ESPN or ESPN2.
Badgers 2013 schedule: Aug. 31 v. Massachusetts, Sept. 7 v. Tennessee Tech, Sept. 14 @Arizona State, Sept. 21 v. Purdue*, Sept. 28 @Ohio State*, Oct. 12 v. Northwestern*, Oct. 19 @Illinois*, Nov. 2 @Iowa*, Nov. 9 v. BYU, Nov. 16 v. Indiana*, Nov. 23 @Minnesota*, Nov. 30 v. Penn State*
* = B1G Game
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