The Wisconsin Badgers have been one of the top college football teams in the Big Ten for the past ten years. The Badgers have won three conference titles in that period. They have produced two Heisman winners and 28 consensus all Americans.

The new age of Wisconsin Badgers football started in 2014 with the arrival of Paul Chryst. He is 25-6 in his third season with two division titles. Chryst as a top-end coaching staff and is renowned for his recruiting classes. With the talent that he has been bringing in, Wisconsin is primed to make a run to the college football playoff this season.

To explain why Wisconsin is a heavy favorite to make the college football playoff and win the Big Ten. We must examine the Badgers strengths and weaknesses,  as well as explore their opponents they will face this season.

Wisconsin’s Strengths

Wisconsin’s biggest strength is their offensive line, Wisconsin produces the best offensive lineman year-in and year-out. The 2017 offensive line is no different; they have four returning offensive lineman with all of them being either sophomores or juniors. The anchor to this line is sophomore right tackle David Edwards, even though he was a tight end when he came to Wisconsin, he is now the cornerstone of Wisconsin’s offensive line. The line also has an All American nucleus with their guard Michael Dieter and tackle Jon Dietzen. The Wisconsin Badgers live by the motto “the battle is won in the trenches.”

AP Photo/Kim Raff

Another key strength for the Wisconsin Badgers is their running game. One of the biggest surprises and all of the Big Ten is the emergence of true freshman Jonathan Taylor. The 5-11, 215 pounds running back brings a strong yet quick running mentality that fits perfectly with Wisconsin’s dominant offensive line. The Salem, New Jersey native has already ran for over 500 yards and has seven touchdowns in just four games. This young running back brings stability to the Badgers running game, which will prove vital for Wisconsin this season.

Wisconsin also has a reliable stable of backup running backs this season. Running backs Chris James, Braderick Shaw, and Garret Groshek have over 400 yards rushing that gives a steady rotation of fresh backs. This rotation of running backs as lead to optimum efficiency of moving the ball down the field. If they can remain efficient during the upcoming schedule, Wisconsin will be a force to reckon with in the Big Ten.

Defense

Dan Sanger – Icon Sportswire Garret Dooley

The Badgers have a stout defense with a few prominent players who could be NFL bound. Wisconsin is fourth overall in yards allowed and are in the top 10 for points allowed this season. Wisconsin, led by Garret Dooley, who leads the team in tackles and in the headlines is one of the best defenses in college football. If the Badgers want to beat their opponents in the Big Ten and make it to the college football playoff, this defense will have to perform as high-caliber as they have been this season.

Wisconsin’s Weaknesses

The most significant question for the Wisconsin Badgers is their quarterback. Alex Hornibrook underperformed in high profile games last season. Hornibrook ended his season last year losing playing time to senior Bart Houston in the Cotton Bowl Classic. Last year he only threw for 1262 yards in total, with just 106 completions.

AP Photo – Kim Raff

This year, however, he seems to have turned over a new leaf with a completion percentage of 66.7%. Through four games he has nine touchdowns with only nine interceptions.He has become a leader in the Lockerroom, and The coaching staff has put a lot of faith in him. He will be what makes or breaks the Badgers 2017 season.

Main Reason They Will Win

Wisconsin only plays one ranked team all of this year with Michigan for their second to last game, and that is at home. According to ESPN, Wisconsin has an 87% chance of making the Big Ten championship game and winning their division.

With their competition not getting harder until the end of the year, Wisconsin will have to remain undefeated if they want to impress anybody going into the college football playoff. The hardest team that they would have to face would be in the Big Ten championship game, and that would be a toss-up between Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan.

Oct 7

@ Nebraska 8:00 PM EDT

Oct 14

vs Purdue 3:30 PM EDT

Oct 21

vs Maryland 12:00 PM EDT

Oct 28

@ Illinois 12:00 PM EDT

Nov 4

@ Indiana Time: TBD

Nov 11

vs Iowa Time: TBD

Nov 18

vs Michigan Time: TBD

Nov 25

@ Minnesota Time: TBD