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Episode 107: Wisconsin Badgers look to support Montee Ball

Montee Ball will have a tough act to follow after a steller 2011 season.

Can Badgers make it three straight Big Ten football championships in 2012?

Montee Ball will have a tough act to follow after a stellar 2011 season.

So how do you top the kind of season Wisconsin had in 2011? Simple. Win the Rose Bowl.

Wisconsin enters the spring having come off another Rose Bowl defeat, their second in a row, and with the postseason ban being served by Ohio State, new coaches at Illinois and Penn State and the likes of Indiana and Purdue mostly an afterthought in the Big Ten’s Leaders Division, why wouldn’t Wisconsin be expected to return to the Big Ten Championship Game in 2012?

The Badgers find themselves in somewhat familiar territory. At this time last year the team was coming off a Rose Bowl loss to TCU and looking for someone who could manage the offense at quarterback. Veteran starter Scott Tolzien had moved on and Brett Bielema scrambled to find a quarterback who could replace him. It turned out that nobody currently on the roster seemed equipped to lead a team that seemed pretty solid everywhere else.

Enter Russell Wilson, the transfer quarterback from N.C. State.

Wilson gave the Badgers a very strong player to fill the one glaring hole on the team. After leading Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl and a Big Ten title, Wilson has moved on, leaving Bielema once again scratching his head trying to figure out the quarterback situation. Might the solution once again be found in the ACC, with former Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien now college football’s equivalent of a free agent testing the market?

Regardless if Wisconsin is a player for O’Brien or not, and there are some differences between last year and this year, the offense is still expected to run through Montee Ball. Ball emerged as a legitimate Heisman contender as the season progressed as he broke a scoring record previously held by Barry Sanders (he was pretty good). This season teams should be more prepared for him, but will they be able to slow him down?

You can’t stop him. You can only hope to contain him. So will it be All Montee Ball Everything in 2012, on his way to New York for a shot at Wisconsin’s third Heisman Trophy? Who else on offense, and for that matter the defense, will step up for Wisconsin in the fall?

On today’s podcast we have Andy Coppens, editor and featured columnist for Madtown Badgers. We take a look at the search for a quarterback at Wisconsin, Montee Ball’s value to the team, and the strong linebacker duo of Chris Borland and Mike Taylor. What else should be a concern for the Badgers this spring? How about the coaching staff changes, as Paul Chryst has moved on to take the head-coaching job at Pittsburgh.

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About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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