Just nine days until the start of the season. Montee Ball is a captain, the depth chart is in place, Wisconsin has a quarterback, and everything is wonderful.
We're now within single digit days of the start of the regular season. Sub-10 is an important benchmark, I think. The literal difference between "10" and "9" isn't much but physically the lonesome numeral is about half as wide (approximately) and gives us a great visual cue that indeed the thing we're counting down to is imminent. Physically-speaking, the season is imminent. After all, we now have a depth chart and captains and a brand new starting quarterback that, according to sources, we should be much more excited for.
High expectations make this part of the season much more fun, even if a bit slower. The summer gauntlet of previews, projections and predictions has just about run its course, and there are too many to fairly highlight just one. However, Andy Staples' look at the Big Ten did make me unusually excited. The forecast of an 11-1 season made me embrace the fact that although Wisconsin is almost certainly a weaker team, nothing dictates that they can't have a more successful season. The ball hasn't bounced (or not bounced, as the case may have it) in anyone's favor yet. All we have is paper to point to, and our minds left to their selfish devices.
The athletic department released another installment of "The Camp" yesterday. It's like "Hard Knocks" except without anything resembling drama because that would mean showing amateur student-athletes in an imperfect light. The nine-minute clip is worth your time solely to watch Robert Burge's lumber up to Bret Bielema as he's accepting his scholarship. Even more than that, however, the video is a reminder that an honest-to-god team will take to Camp Randall on Sept. 1, trained to believe, as are 123 others, that the pie in the sky is real.
And we believe it's real, though we don't really need to. It's just that it's so much more fun. Last year's Rose Bowl has disappeared from the rear-view mirror and all that lies ahead is unknown and potentially perfect.
More links after the jump.
Danny O'Brien is excited for a new start, via ESPN's Big Ten blog.
Jordan Canzeri returns to practice, tempting AIRBHG and probably setting in action a serious of horrible "Final Destination"-type consequences. Oh, and Barkley Hill is officially out for the season because Iowa can't have nice things.
The Leaders Division as beer, and somehow Wisconsin checks in at No. 2?
Chris Brown Grantland article on Schrodinger's offense. Just rolling out run and pass plays at the same time until you find out it's one or the other.
Wrapping up: Bret Bielema is still the best.