Fear not, for I come bearing Badger Bits for Wednesday, August 4th!
A lot of Big Ten news has been made in the last two days, which isn't exactly a surprise. We've heard from every Big Ten coach about their opinions on expansion and preseason expectations, but we won't get an answer on divisional alignments for about 30 to 45 days, according to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. Delany reiterated that his biggest priority for constructing divisions is competitive balance, but with a league as historic as the Big Ten, it's important to give a time frame for determining how competitive a football program has been. Delany did just that on Monday, stating that the last 17 years will be used to judge competitive balance. As Tom Oates writes on Madison.com, that time frame could work in the Badgers' favor.
According to Oates, Wisconsin's body of work from the past 17 years puts it close to the same level with the more nationally recognized schools and not far behind the traditional powerhouses of Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska, and Ohio State. Wisconsin has a 67.2% winning percentage over the last 17 years, whereas Michigan has a 69.5% winning percentage. Ohio State and Nebraska would lead the new Big Ten, with 79.4% and 76.0% respectively. Penn State has the third best record at 70.3%. While Wisconsin is not nationally recognized as a powerful football school currently, their body of work shows that divisions based on geography would not be as unbalanced as some people assume.
More Badger news after the jump!
Bielema re-stated his desire to start a end of the year rivalry game, by either moving the Minnesota or Iowa rivalries, or starting a yearly series with Nebraska. Bielema had been one of the first to kick around the idea of a rivalry game with Nebraska. Here's what he had to say on the matter:
“I love the Ohio State-Michigan game,” he said. “Before I was even playing college football I watched that game. I’d like to have that tradition at Wisconsin – whether it is Minnesota or Iowa or Nebraska."
“If they come up with something else, I’m game. But let’s have something and run with it.”
Wisconsin checks in at number eight in Sporting News' preseason Top 100 poll.
Questions about injured players also cropped up during the media sessions:
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Curt Phillips is recovering well after tearing his ACL in spring practice. Bielema says that Phillips may be ready for the start of conference play, but they're trying not to rush him back. Having Phillips available even for half of a season would drastically help the Badger's quarterback depth.
Sophomore center Peter Konz is 100% recovered after developing blood clots in his lungs near the end of the season last year. Konz will have no restrictions on practice, and will look to start at center for the whole season after starting nine games last year.
The football program also has it's newest commitment: Terrance Floyd. Floyd is a cornerback prospect from Florida, and is Wisconsin's second out-of-state recruit this year. Floyd was given a three-star ranking from ESPN.com.
And finally, the Big Ten will not be changing its name after Nebraska joins next year.
31 days until kickoff!