College football preseason rankings – #25 Wisconsin

With just over 50 days until the kickoff of the 2013 college football season, it’s time to begin looking at and devising the pre-season top 25 teams in the nation. At number 25 sits the Badgers of Wisconsin, who are currently in a transition phase after the departure of head coach Brett Bielema just before the Rose Bowl showdown with Stanford last season.

With all of the confusion surrounding the program, Wisconsin was still able to finish the season on a positive note, giving the Badger faithful plenty of reasons to be excited about the upcoming campaign. According to Nationalchamps.net, Wisconsin will return eight starters on offensive and seven on defense, however, the biggest replacement will come at running back, as Monte Ball has moved on to the NFL.

Where Wisconsin will see major improvement is within the wide-receiver corps, as the Badgers will have the entire group back in 2013, including All-Conference receiver Jared Abbrederis. Wisconsin will also return starting quarterback Joel Stave, who should have a better grasp of the offense in season 2, but will be more heavily relied on with the departure of Ball. The development and connection between Stave and his veteran wide receiver should prove to be key this season.

The Badger defensive will also return a majority of the starting squad that, according to CBS Sports, ranked 15th in the nation in 2012, and could have another big season in 2013.

Wisconsin’s first major test will come against Todd Graham and the Sun-Devils of Arizona State on September 14, giving the nation a glimpse of how good the Badgers could be in 2013. Wisconsin will also face off with Ohio State, a top ranked team, as well as Northwestern and BYU.

Despite a third place finish in the Big Ten in 2012, Wisconsin is poised to return to the top of the charts in 2013. With a multitude of returning starters and Penn State still under NCAA sanctions, the Badgers could become a top contender for the Rose Bowl again this season if they are able to surpass Ohio State and Nebraska.