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Wisconsin Badgers news, 7/23: Joel Stave, Rick Wagner, Montee Ball

Scott Halleran


The 2014 season is slowly approaching, so why not delve into the 2014 schedule? Jim Kleinpeter ranks LSU's opponents for the upcoming schedule and the Tigers matchup against the Badgers is No. 3, behind only Alabama and Auburn. Looks like the N.O. media is giving Gary Andersen's club some credit.

Wisconsin's outcome in that game will largely decide if they'll be major players in making the inaugural College Football Playoff, but as it stands today they're listed as 33-to-1 odds, an increase from 40 to 1 in January.

Finally, a player that will have a profound impact on the team's success this season is Joel Stave, and he's ESPN Wisconsin's Zach Heilprin fourth most important Badger. As Heilprin notes on Twitter, Stave will have the same coordinator for the first time in his career, pending he wins the quarterback job over Tanner McEvoy.

To no surprise, J.J. Watt topped Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke's list of the top pass rushers in the NFL.

If you're into fantasy football, don't leave out the possibility of drafting Denver Broncos' Montee Ball, who is listed as the No. 1 potential breakout fantasy running back, according to's Eric Karabell (Insider).

Speaking of former UW players who are on the rise, Baltimore Ravens' Ricky Wagner, who is slated to be the team's right tackle in 2014, is No. 21 on's Aaron Schatz list of 25 breakout prospects (Insider).

"After last year's debacle, the Ravens could really use some offensive linemen who excel at run blocking. Guess what? They have at least one. Wagner was a fifth-round pick last year out of Wisconsin, where the offensive linemen practically have 'road-grader' across their foreheads."


Sam Dekker improved in more ways than just one over the course of the offseason, and it should help him immensely as he prepares for his junior season.

Former baller Danny Jones, who ranks third in points scored in UW program history and last played competitive ball in 2001, has ditched the hard court for the links and it's been full steam ahead ever since.

Quick hitters

I love this place: Ian's Pizza was certainly not ranked high enough, but still managed to sneak in at No. 18 on Buzzfeed's list of "18 Pizza Joints You Must Try Before You Die."

The Big Ten Network will offer full live coverage of the conference's Media Days next Monday and Tuesday. I'll be there for Bucky's Fifth Quarter, so are there any pressing questions that you have for coach Andersen, or the group of Badgers players (Melvin Gordon, Warren Herring, Rob Havenstein)?

Kevin Ives designed some soccer-type kits for the Big Ten teams, and Wisconsin was represented by American Family Insurance. I'd prefer the badass selection of Harley Davidson.