Here are your Badger Bits for Wednesday, July 21st:
You can now easily find out what Badger players and coaches are saying on Twitter with B5Q's UW student athlete list. Click on the link to follow the list or you can find the live stream of the list at any time on the right hand column of B5Q's home page.
Over at Rivals.com, Mike Huguenin has a story naming the best duos at each position, with UW's own Gabe Carimi and John Moffitt leading the way for the offensive line. Here's what Huguenin had to say about the pair:
"Carimi might be the best offensive lineman in the nation. He's huge (6-7/315) and plows over opponents in the running game. He's also surprisingly nimble on the outside and is a solid pass blocker. Moffitt, who also can play center, is a mauler in the middle."
Carimi and Moffitt will play a crucial role in the success of the 2010 Badger team as they pave the way for John Clay and the rest of the Badger running game. Huguenin has also named Phillip Welch and Brad Nortman as the best kicker/punter combo in the Big Ten. Carimi is already a potential first round pick, with NFL draft analysts putting him as one of the two best available offensive linemen.
Speaking of the offensive line, they're a big part of the reason Michigan fans will learn to hate John Clay this year. Here's how Maize n Brew Dave sums it up:
"Further, he's running behind what I consider the best offensive line in the country. You read that right. Wisconsin's power running game returns the entire eff-ing line, including First Team All Big Ten linemen John Moffitt (C) and Gabe Carimi (LT). Clay is already a bulldozer with scramjet, now he's got rocket powered road graders clearing his way. I think I just threw up a little."
Adam Rittenberg also has his 'Hope and Concern' video preview up at the Big Ten Blog. He lists the offensive line as the biggest reason for hope and the special teams as the biggest reason for concern for the Badgers in the 2010 football season. Coincidentally, head coach Bret Bielema seemed to recognize the need for a change in how the team approaches special teams when he gave up the responsibilities for coaching the squad and divided it among his assistants for this upcoming year.
Rittenberg also listed his views on Wisconsin's Key Stretch of games for the upcoming season. Rittenberg foresees October as the determining month for the Badgers, where they must take on Michigan State on the road, Minnesota and Ohio State at home, and Iowa at Iowa City. If the Badgers can take care of all of these teams, or even go 3-1 during the stretch, they may be well on their way to a BCS bid.
Andy Baggot at Madison.com also thinks that the games with Ohio State and Iowa will determine if this is the year that UW makes the leap from a good program to a great one.
Mark Bennett at The Daily Cardinal has his list of 'Football Games to Watch' up on the website for the student publication. He lists at UNLV, vs. Minnesota, vs. OSU, at Iowa, and at Michigan as the crucial match-ups for this year. The one I would be particularly careful of is the Border Battle with Minnesota as UW has held onto the axe for six years now, but Tim Brewster's job security may very well depend on the results of Minnesota's two rivalry games.
ESPN has teamed up with Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook to provide team previews for every FBS team, so be sure to check out what they have to say about the Badgers if you are an ESPN Insider. They seem to think Wisconsin has a good shot at a BCS Bowl as long as they stay healthy and take care of business on the defensive side of the ball.
The Badgers have also gotten some good recruiting news recently:
Arrowhead Linebacker Derek Landisch has orally committed to the UW Football team's 2011 class. He chose Wisconsin over fellow Big Ten teams Ohio State, Northwestern, and Minnesota. Landisch is an athlete and played both inside and outside linebacker in high school. ESPN has him graded as a 74, just missing the cut to be a 3 star recruit. Arrowhead has sent a recruit to a Big Ten school in each of the last three years.
The Men's Basketball team also landed Iowa forward Jarrod Uthoff over the weekend. Uthoff picked UW over Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Butler and Illinois. Uthoff is a versatile player who should fit well in Bo Ryan's offense down the road.
And the Men's Hockey team is expected to sign Princeton de-commit Joe Faust. Faust was originally recruited by UW out of Bloomington-Jefferson in Minnesota, but decided to switch to Wisconsin after watching the Badgers in the 2010 WCHA Final Five. Faust will be a welcome addition to a hockey team in need of help after losing several playmakers to graduation and the NHL, including 2010 Hobey Baker winner Blake Geoffrion.
And finally, Wisconsin has moved up to No. 21 in the Directors' Cup standings. The Badgers climbed up 20 spots in the rankings on the strength of the Hockey team's 2nd place finish, the football team's No. 16 ranking at the end of the season, and the wrestling team's 4th place finish nationally.
Only 45 days until kickoff!