It's getting closer. It's an inexorable march towards the day. I'm done shedding followers on Twitter through soccer trolling.
Football is coming, and the Wisconsin Badgers have a big game they've been staring down for a while to start. But that's not exactly why I'm here. I mean, I am going to talk about the best, worst and likely cases for the Badgers this season. But the season doesn't end after the LSU game, even if the national media might think so.
Aug. 30 vs. LSU (in Houston)
Likely case: Wisconsin is a team with two talented running backs and a veteran offensive line going up against an inexperienced front line of LSU. Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement should be able to establish the running game. LSU is a team with two talented running backs (and the No. 1 freshman in the world in Leonard Fournette) and a veteran offensive line going up against an inexperienced front line of Wisconsin. It's going to be close down to the wire.
Best case: The Badgers' passing questions get answered in a big way as freshman Krenwick Sanders justifies the hype quickly with a 175-yard receiving day and Reggie Love breaks out with 100-plus yards of his own as Joel Stave goes 22-for-22 and doesn't throw a pick and the Badgers win comfortably.
Worst case: The Legend of Leonard Fournette begins as the Badgers' passing game does nothing while a gypsy curses Melvin Gordon into switching bodies with a World War II veteran over some sort of sleight. The Badgers get the old beat 'em down and lose by 40-plus.
Sept. 6 vs. Western Illinois
Likely case: Whatever happens the previous week likely doesn't matter. Western Illinois went 4-8 last season on a lower level. It's not an unreasonable thing to expect both Clement and Gordon to get over 100 yards rushing. It's not unreasonable to think this is the game where the receiving questions get fully answered. The Badgers should cruise in this one.
Best case: Taiwan Deal and Tanner McEvoy find themselves joining in the "rushing for 100 yards" party, Sanders makes a spectacular catch that adds another touchdown to the whimsical adventure. The Badgers get to 60, and they really don't run up the score.
Worst case: Again, you're looking at a bad FCS school. A loss would be unfathomable, but a sort of 35-33, 26-21 game would just be depressing for everybody.
Sept. 20 vs. Bowling Green
Likely case: Tanned, rested and ready, the Badgers play comfortably ahead of the Falcons. They don't truly beat 'em down, but the Badgers' running game keeps Bowling Green from uncorking the full throttle of Dino Babers' passing attack. Matt Johnson does get his, but more Badgers get theirs. Something like 42-24 feels likely.
Best case: The Badgers get sacks and actually manage to generate turnovers. Jeremy Patterson makes the Bowling Green running game suffer all sorts of pain. Alec James and Vince Biegel get multiple sacks. It's a full on beat 'em down. 42-3.
Worst case: The defense doesn't show up, Matt Johnson channels the full Jimmy Garoppolo, Chris Gallon goes all tall guy over the small, quick, attackers and a mob destroys Joel Stave's piano after he throws a last-second interception and the Badgers get upset 35-31.
Sept. 27 vs. South Florida
Likely case: A young team doesn't know exactly what it's getting into in its first road game of the season. It's a step up in weight class and before the Bulls know it, it's 24-7, Badgers. South Florida rights itself and gets out of Madison with a respectable final 40 minutes of play, but the Badgers get a good win against a power-conference opponent who will likely be much better in November.
Best case: South Florida's baby bull defensive front seven gets eaten up by Wisconsin's offensive line; it's yet another game where Deal joins Clement and Gordon going over the century mark. USF's Andre Davis get' nothing and likes it, and the Badgers treat the Bulls as if they were so much UMass.
Worst case: A young team doesn't know exactly what it's getting into in its first road game of the season. It's supposed to be a step up in weight class and before the Bulls know it, they're up 24-7. The Badgers mount a furious comeback, but fall short after Alex Erickson gets conned into a sham marriage that allows an Irish con artist to gain American citizenship.
Oct. 4 at Northwestern
Likely case: So guess what? The Badgers are going to run well. Can you believe it?! The surprising thing? The Badgers are going to get some competition. Northwestern is going to run well, too. In a twist, it won't actually be a sort of thumping upside the head that Northwestern's been dealt on a regular recent basis.
Best case: The Badgers win by 200 points. No jokes here. That will literally be the best case for the Badgers to win the game. Points and points and points and points.
Worst case: Venric Mark's cyborg ankle activates and turns him into Barry Sanders. Memories of the early part of the decade and Northwestern's streak over Wisconsin reemerge. I'm not a man who drinks to forget, but on this day I will. it will lead me to go on wacky adventures. I will remember nothing. It will haunt me forever.
Oct. 11 vs. Illinois
Likely case: The Illini get points. Wes Lunt + pace means they're not going to go away with just 14 points. The defense, though, while experienced, is still the same defense that the Badgers got to 56 against. Illinois staying in the game will only force them to eat more points.
Best case: The Badgers get to 70. It's really fun, except for the jerks that tweet Gabe Megginson. Don't be that jerk that tweets Gabe Megginson on Oct. 11, OK?
Worst case: Badger commit David Edwards, making his official visit to Wisconsin, charges the field in the fourth quarter, just as Lunt uncorks a desperation heave to Geronimo Allison, who totally exists. Edwards drops Allison with a big hit just after he makes a leaping grab. The referee penalizes the Badgers and gives the Illini the winning touchdown. Edwards then reveals he was committed to this Illini THE ENTIRE TIME!
Okay, friends. This is where I drop you off. I'll come back later with part two of this series. Find out what Iowa's worst case scenario is. Does it involve horses? Will the Badger line just end the grease-truck tradition at Rutgers? Could the Badgers lose to Purdue?
The Badgers aren't losing to Purdue.