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Bielema Names Starting QB

Maryland transfer QB Danny O'Brien will be under center for the Badgers when they open up the season September 1st.
Maryland transfer QB Danny O'Brien will be under center for the Badgers when they open up the season September 1st.

When the Wisconsin Badgers open up the 2012 college football season against the University of Northern Iowa on September 1st, Maryland transfer quarterback Danny O'Brien will be leading the offense.

Badger head coach Bret Bielema announced his starter via twitter on Sunday night.

This will mark the second consecutive season that Wisconsin will open up the season with a transfer quarterback under center. Last year Russell Wilson—who started his career at North Carolina State—led the Badgers in the opener under the lights against UNLV.

O'Brien being named the starter shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone at this point. With Jon Budmayr expected to miss the season with injury, it was a three horse race between O'Brien, senior Curt Phillips, and redshirt freshman Joel Stave.

O'Brien, a redshirt junior started 17 games while at Maryland, and clearly had a leg up on the competition as fall camp approached. When it came down to it, his experience is hard to overlook given the expectations the Badgers have this season.

"Both Curt and Joel had great camps as well, we are very fortunate that we have 3 QB's that can play winning football for us," Bielema noted on Twitter Sunday night.

O'Brien played in parts of two seasons at Maryland after a redshirt year, including an incredible 2010 season that saw him named the ACC freshman of the year after throwing for 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns to just 8 interceptions.

The 6-foot-3, 223-pound O'Brien struggled at times last season under new head coach Randy Edsall. That eventually led to Edsall benching O'Brien, and fueled his desire to transfer to a new school.

After graduating from Maryland in just three years, O'Brien was able to transfer to Wisconsin and be eligible to play immediately.

In other quarterback news, red-shirt sophomore Joe Brennan, who had been relegated to fourth-string duties one season after being Russell Wilson's primary backup, has decided to leave the program.

Bielema announced the Brennan news to the media following practice on Saturday. Brennan plans to transfer, but Bielema would not go into details on where he was going to end up.

Also of note, Wisconsin starts the season #12 in both the USA Today Coaches Poll, and the Associated Press poll.

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