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Badger Bits: Badgers Leaving Their NFL Mark

Wisconsin's growing success at the NFL level is nothing short of impressive.

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The success and number of UW players in the NFL continues to grow, and sometimes I think it's even taken for granted. At least, I may feel this way because I'm originally from the Twin Cities. The only notable University of Minnesota Gopher in the NFL right now is Denver wide receiver Eric Decker, who's had a very solid first few seasons at the pro level. But outside of Decker, the only other gophers even in the league are Minnesota Vikings defensive back Marcus Sherels and Chicago Bears tight end Matt Spaeth. That's it.

I know, I shouldn't be comparing how Minnesota and Wisconsin's programs match up in terms of NFL success, because it's not a fair battle. Regardless, it shows how far the program has come in the last few decades -- from when it was essentially an equal to Minnesota in terms of football success (or failures).

It's not just the fact Wisconsin has 25 players in the NFL right now, but how many are budding stars and making an impact on playoff teams. Of course Russell Wilson and J.J. Watt highlight the list of names, but six other Badgers are on playoff rosters as well.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covers these eight UW players on postseason teams and how they're making their presence felt.

The next time Wilson scrambles for a touchdown or Watt swats down a pass, just remember, it didn't always used to be this way for Wisconsin. And as the football program continues to grow on the collegiate and professional level, it's a pretty cool sight to see.

Wednesday's Links:

Ohio State's Sam Thompson posterizes Illinois' A.J Hammons in last night's OSU victory (VIDEO).

The win gave Ohio State coach Thad Matta his 100th Big Ten victory.

BTN ranks the conference's top five dunkers (with some highlights to back up the claims).

Read up on former Auburn assistant and Wisconsin's new tight ends coach, Jay Boulware. (From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal).

Mark Schlabach releases his Way-Too-Early Top 25 of college football for 2013, which includes 5 Big Ten teams.