With several BCS schools playing their non-conference openers tonight, the countdown to college football for Badger fans has morphed from anticipation to outright salivation. We are officially within 60 hours of an evening kickoff at Camp Randall Stadium, though I can guarantee the "experience" will really begin for most fans in about 48. I am thrilled to be spending this season writing for 'Bucky's 5th Quarter' on SBNation.com. I'll introduce myself and make some fearless predictions later on, but first, here are your Badger Bits for Thursday morning:
The university reminds fans that Madison's largest tailgate party, which takes place two hours before the start of each home game, will be relocated to Engineering Mall for the next two football seasons, while the new Union South is being built.
Betsy Golomski from Athletic Communications gives tidbits about the team, including a check-in with Badgers in the NFL, a video feature and the Tweet of the Day.
There are also still tickets available for the Badgers' home opener against Northern Illinois, as well as ticket packages for all three non-conference home games.
Jeff Potrykus runs a feature piece on freshman outside linebacker and surprise starter Mike Taylor, who won the spot from Blake Sorensen in camp.
This set of Badger notes includes stories on punter Brad Nortman bringing a fresh approach to the team's new punt formation, freshman center Travis Frederick getting the start over the injured John Moffitt and defensive tackle Dan Moore's readiness to play Saturday.
Dave Heller's bits and pieces.
Dave Heller reveals AccuScore's prediction for Saturday's match-up with the Huskies - and explains why it might be misleading.
Jim Polzin breaks down the Badgers' soft schedule and explains why the team should win eight games this season.
Jim Polzin writes about the most coveted punter in the 2010 recruiting class - who happens to hail from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin.
Mike Lucas' Big Ten notes detail Michigan offensive lineman Mark Ortmann's feelings on turning around a 3-9 team, the league's quarterback battles and Iowa's replacement of a stud running back.
Lucas makes his predictions for the league's first week of non-conference games.
With Joe Panos' induction into the UW Athletic Hall of Fame looming, Lucas takes a look at how his playing career jump-started a struggling program.
Adam Rittenberg's Big Ten blog on ESPN.com is chock-full of news, notes and insight. Here are some Badger-related pieces:
And, finally, the view from the other side: links to headlines from the DeKalb Daily Chronicle, as Northern Illinois gets set to come to Camp Randall Stadium.
John Sahly talks about the physically imposing Badgers.
That's all for now! Check back later for my Wisconsin and Big Ten predictions, a preview of the home opener against NIU and, of course, Friday morning's Badger Bits.