We're still shell-shocked from the Willie Williams ruling, but we're pushing through to finish our Big Ten Preview. Willie would have wanted it that way. Up next, the slow-but-steady Wisconsin Badgers:

2007 Preview: Here
2007 Record: 9-4 (5-3)
Projected 2008 Finish: 2nd
Returning Starters: 17
Head Coach: Brett Bielema
Best Player: TE Travis Beckum

Good News:

- After getting waxed in Columbus and Happy Valley last year (combined score: 76-24), the Badgers get Ohio St. and Penn St. at Camp Randall, where the Badgers are 24-1 since 2004. Michigan fans, this is the best chance for the Buckeyes to lose in conference in '08.

- Though QB is a question mark, Allen Evridge can't ask for a better situation: A massive O-line returning four starters, a ridiculous stable of running backs (P.J. Hill, Zach Brown, John Clay) and one of the best tight ends in the country, Travis Beckum.

- How does Wisconsin keep churning out these backs? P.J. Hill is in the Ron Dayne-mold at 230 pounds and good luck bringing those stumpy legs down: the dude squats 615 pounds, even more than the Great Dayne.

- The front seven returns six starters and is rock solid. They don't have any future stars over here, just a bunch of guys like DE Matt Shaughnessy that get the job done right.

- We like Brett Bielema. After winning 13 games in 2006, Bielema wasn't afraid to bust some heads after slipping a little in '07. He fired his defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz, completely shifting the blame onto his assistant when he's supposed to be the defensive guru. Yeah, that scores major points with us.

- The players no longer need to hide their Xboxes on the road now that Jack Ikegwuonu bolted early for the NFL!

Not-So-Good News:

- What the hell was Barry Alvarez thinking scheduling Fresno St. on the road, especially after getting embarrassed at home by Pat Hill in 2001? Wisconsin should have found a way to back out of this one, as Fresno is the WAC's top team and full of veterans.

- Before transferring to Wisco from Kansas State, Evridge started six games in 2005 for the Wildcats. The result? Under 50-percent passing, 6 TDs and 7 picks. That includes a 5-27 performance against Nebraska. Not much is asked of a Badger QB, but running will be mighty tough with 8 guys in the box.

- They lose both starting WRs Luke Swan and Paul Hubbard, which isn't a big deal in itself. Those guys should have been playing in the MAC and were hurt half the season. But unless Nick Toon plays like his father or another sophomore steps up big-time, this is one of the worst Big 10 receiving corps.

- Quality backup RB Lance Smith got the boot for a series of transgressions starting with stealing his girlfriend's shoes. Does anyone else picture him like Chris Elliott from There's Something About Mary?

- Ikegwuonu did have an outstanding 15 passes broken up and would have been among this year's elite CBs with Malcolm Jenkins and Vontae Davis. Instead, he made a terrible decision to go pro and was picked No. 141 after busting his knee at the Combine. Then again, this guy doesn't exactly have sound decision-making.


Let's be clear: Wisconsin is not nearly in the same class as Ohio State. We're picking them No. 2 in the Big Ten because they're very experienced and have few major flaws. They got the nod over Illinois solely based on the fact their coach isn't Ron Zook.

That being said, Bo Schembechler would love the 2008 Badgers. It's going to be a lot smash-mouth football on both sides of the ball. The Badgers are going to run the ball down people's throat this year and don't be surprised if they pass 2,500 yards on the ground this year.

We can't get over the Fresno St. game. With at Michigan, Ohio St. and Penn St. on the other side of a bye, the Badgers first month-and-a-half is brutal. And for some odd reason their last game is against Cal Poly. Was Alvarez drunk again when he put this thing together?

The Badgers love Central Florida (four straight trips) and we see them headed back there for the holidays.