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Where do you see Wisconsin athletics five years from now?

Our last roundtable question of the week looks into our collective crystal balls.

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

While we continue to push and trudge through this 2019 “offseason”—as we wait for both Joey and Sam Hauser’s announcement of their next college basketball destination and the start of the Wisconsin football season in less than 100 days—our group of writers came together earlier this week to discuss some random topics that we will also throw out to you, the Bucky’s 5th Quarter community.

Four topics down this week, one final discussion to go, and it’s a big, loaded questions with many variables.

Where do you see Wisconsin athletics five years from now?

Bob Wiedenhoeft: Okay, my biggest prediction and hot take here is that Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez will retire and will be replaced by Northern Illinois athletic director (and former UW deputy AD) Sean Frazier.

Neal Olson: Wow Bob, that is a big one to lead off with.

[Ed. note: Upon further review, holy s—-, that’s definitely a big take to start off our chat.]

Tyler Hunt: I see them contending for titles in all sports. I just feel that the perception of Wisconsin has changed and people are seeing Madison and UW for how awesome it really is.

Bob: I’d love to see women’s basketball up there, but it’s such a tough hill to climb. The Big Ten is very difficult. I think if women’s basketball keeps improving, it will see the fan engagement of women’s hockey and volleyball.

Drew Hamm: I’d like to see the men’s hockey team return to prominence.

Neal: Overall there are a lot of sports that are trending toward national title contender.

Tyler: Agreed, Drew. Would be awesome. I miss those days.

Bob: Yes, Drew, men’s hockey has been sideways.

Drew: I had the most fun during college at men’s hockey games, and I want to see that atmosphere return. Bring back the WCHA, to be quite honest.

Jake Kocorowski: Regarding Bob’s take re: the next AD after Alvarez, I wonder if they’d stay in-house to be honest, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Bob: Frazier has the benefit of being familiar with UW, serving under Alvarez AND having success at another institution. The other person to watch is Chris McIntosh, who is the current deputy director (bringing our convo full circle).

[Ed. note: McIntosh, the former standout offensive lineman on consecutive Rose Bowl winning teams, currently is responsible for “overseeing the day-to-day operations of the department, student-athlete recruitment, business development, human resources, and strategic planning,” according to UW’s website.]

Jake: That would be the one person I was thinking, Bob.

Bob: I think they both would do a fine job, but have different strengths. Would depend on who the chancellor is.

Jake: Overall, I think five years from now, Wisconsin athletics continues to be a productive, successful, profitable entity. Many programs will be competing to be the best in the Big Ten Conference, some competing for national glory.

Tyler: I think that is the perfect way to describe it.

Jake: And honestly, I’m really surprised no one mentioned true freshman quarterback Graham Mertz and multiple national championships. I was really expecting at least just one joke about that.

Drew: I mean,,,

Neal: You’ve talked is all off the Mertz wagon, Jake.

Tyler: And that’s a given.

Jake: I’m glad I’m the Debbie Downer of the group.