I hope you read this when you first wake up. Whether that's 7 a.m. or noon I hope you're sitting down in your kitchen or living room, except that sitting is a loose term at the moment because your legs are shaking, your hands are twitchy and your eyes are wide because it is finally here. I say "it" because "it" has happened before. With the *clickclack**clickclack* up a rollercoaster or the realization that Santa came, it is the full force of potential energy waiting to be realized and it has your nerves in knots.
The Badgers are pure potential energy, some combination of man-eating linemen and hard-working ball carriers and chippy defenders and one maybe game-changer at quarterback that in sum add up to what could be something truly special. It's not a secret, national pundits have been calling Wisconsin a B1G favorite all summer. Two recently predicted the Badgers will be playing in the BCS national title game come January. The Badgers should be good, really good.
Of course, Off Tackle Empire reminds us that we've been here before. In 2000, 2007 and 2008 Wisconsin entered the season with lofty rankings. The results: 9-4, 9-4 and 7-6, respectively. There is this nasty stigma that Wisconsin can't handle expectation, and it extends to other arenas as well. Remember when Wisconsin was ranked No. 1 in basketball in 2007? Remember how long that lasted?
Still, there is reason to believe that this year's iteration of Badger football will be better than the aforementioned. Specifically, there is the Rose Bowl. Every returning starter has already learned what it is like to disappoint, to lose sight of their identity while trying to desperately to fulfill expectations. They know how meaningless the limelight actually is, and they know now what they have to do to sustain success. That's my hope, at least. None of us really knows anything until kickoff. Only then will we begin to find out whether this group truly realizes everything that they can be.
Off Tackle Empire interviewed Dave Revsine of the Big Ten Network. His one word to describe the Badgers? Overpowering.
Several Badgers earn mentions in Kirk Herbstreit's annual Herbie Awards. Chris Borland, Peter Konz, Montee Ball and Bret Bielma all earn nods. Paul Chryst took home the most hardware, however, making Herbie's list of Top 5 offensive coordinators and Top 5 coaches most likely to join the head coaching ranks next year.
Speaking of which, I feel like this profile was supposed to assure me that Chryst will ultimately stay in Madison, and did little to assure me that Chryst will ultimately stay in Madison.
Tom Mulhern predicts the Badgers to win, 34-14. Sounds about right considering the team's penchant for slow starts.
Finally, a warning reminder that this once happened. Whatever happens today, let's hope it isn't "historic."