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Wisconsin football: what does Phil Steele think about the Badgers?

The king of preseason college football predictions released his annual magazine a few weeks ago. What did he have to say about UW?

Big Ten Football Championship - Ohio State v Wisconsin Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Phil Steele is the O.G. of college football preview magazines. While his hasn’t been around the longest, his has always been the most in-depth and accurate preview of this silly sport that we all love. Every year fans wait with baited bated breath for his magazine to hit newsstands and this year, despite newsstands not really being a thing anymore, was no different.

Let’s take a look at what he had to say about the Wisconsin Badgers and the B1G heading into this season, keeping in mind that his magazine went to press before a lot of players decided to opt out of the 2020 season.

First of all, he’s got Ohio State and Wisconsin meeting in the B1G Title Game again, with the Buckeyes winning that game as well as the national title. For the rest of the West he picks Iowa to finish second and then Northwestern and Minnesota to be co-third place holders. Nebraska, Purdue and Illinois round out the division, while out east Penn State, Michigan and Indiana follow the Buckeyes.

Steele ranks the Badgers as having the best defensive backs unit in the conference and the second best offensive line. On the other end of the spectrum, Steele sees the Badgers special teams unit as the No. 13 (suck it, Nerbaska!) outfit in the B1G.

The running backs’ room is rated as the No. 17 one in the country, while the o-line clocks in at No. 7. On defense, the Badgers d-line is No. 20, the linebackers are No. 14 and the d-backs are No. 5 in the land.

There are a number of Badgers on his four all-conference teams too. OT Cole Van Lanen, ILB Jack Sanborn and S Eric Burrell all made the first team this year. Van Lanen was also named a third team All-American. It is crazy to look at the first team and see three members (Purdue WR Rondale Moore, Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman, PSU LB Micah Parsons) have opted out of this season.

Michigan v Wisconsin Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

OL Logan Bruss, DE Isaiahh Loudermilk and PR Jack Dunn made the second team, while TE Jake Ferguson and LS Adam Bay made the third team. Former Badger KR Aron Cruickshank made the third team for Rutgers too. CB Faion Hicks made the fourth team.

Steele is high on the Badgers, due to their 15 returning starters, even though they lost Jonathan Taylor, Quintez Cephus, Tyler Biadasz, Chris Orr and Zack Baun to the NFL. He says “no one will underestimate Wisconsin this year,” and that’s probably the way to think about the B1G West until proven otherwise.