There are now 96 days until the Wisconsin Badgers' 2016 season begins. Head coach Paul Chryst will lead his team into Lambeau Field against the LSU Tigers (and his former defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda) on Sept. 3, but until then -- and the start of summer camp in a couple of months -- we'll ask some questions about this year's squad.
Which 2016 opponent will be the toughest for the Wisconsin Badgers?
Kyle Vos: I’m going with LSU. I’m not convinced that the Tigers will be the best team UW faces this season, but I do believe it will be the toughest game of 2016. Andrew notes that the Badgers will know Aranda’s defense, and that’s true, but Aranda also knows UW’s offense as well as any defensive coordinator in the country. With what UW has to replace in the passing game, and it being the first game, that’s going to be a major test for the offense. Wisconsin will have the national spotlight against a premiere SEC opponent that has one of the Heisman frontrunners. There are viable contenders, but I have a hard time calling any other game bigger or tougher than LSU.
Andrew Rosin: I’ll do this by process of elimination. The Badgers can game-plan against a Dave Aranda defense and have started on it months ago. Ohio State has had troubles playing in Madison under the lights. Michigan State’s only going to have two games to see how their lines, receivers, and passing game work before playing Wisconsin. The Badgers have an on-paper advantage against Iowa and Nebraska has had nightmares playing in Madison. So I’m not going to be alone on this, but I’m saying Michigan.
Jon Arens: Evanston, Illinois against Northwestern. Believe it or not, Wisconsin has not won in Evanston since 1999, one of the most ludicrous stats in existence. Since that game, a 35-19 Badger win that is so old it doesn’t even have a website describing what happened, Wisconsin has beaten the Wildcats 41-9, 70-23, and 35-6. I was at that 70-23 game. It was hilarious. It is high time for Wisconsin to win a game in Ryan Field. Don’t even get me started on that game last year -- we might lose [B5Q contributor and BuckAround co-host] Maxwell [Brusky] in a fit of rage. Northwestern should never have a two-game win streak against Wisconsin. Don’t even try to trick UW with a sneaky cold 11 a.m. start. -- they have those all the time, so there (but in all seriousness, please stop losing in Evanston).
Owen Riese: Initially, my response was that this was an easy choice, LSU. The more I thought about it, I began to lead towards Ohio State. They’re the national recruiting juggernaut, and Urban Meyer always fields a loaded team. However, I’m going to go with playing Michigan in the Big House. Head coach Jim Harbaugh will have the Wolverines playing at a fever pitch, and the Badgers haven’t played in the Big House in five years. This could get ugly if UW doesn’t punch back.