We are right in the midst of the holiday season, and this year, I made my list of the things I am asking the University of Wisconsin-Madison for in the upcoming year. Do you expect to receive everything on your holiday wish list? No, but it sure would be nice if a few of them found themselves under the tree.
6. Wisconsin plays all scheduled games across all sports
Nobody likes cancelled/postponed games, especially when they are put on hold due to COVID-19. If Wisconsin plays all of their scheduled games, not only do the fans get to root their Badgers to victory, but it means that the players and coaches are healthy, which is ultimately the most important thing.
5. Braelon Allen, Heisman Trophy Finalist
Coming off of an incredible freshman season, RB Braelon Allen is looking to take the next step in 2022. He is currently a finalist for Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year award, and I am hoping it is not the only individual award Allen brings home in 2022. As much as I’d love him to win the Heisman, that’s a tall task.
My wish is that Allen is sitting in New York following the 2022 season as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. This means two things: 1) Allen had an insane year. 2) The Badgers are contenders. Everyone wins.
4. Women’s volleyball doesn’t skip a beat
It is no secret that women’s volleyball was led to their National Championship by many seniors who will not be returning to Madison; Dana Rettke, Sydney Hilley, Lauren Barnes, Gio Civita and Grace Loberg. Many would expect this team to take a step backwards, but as Kelly Sheffield told me following the Badgers’ welcome home celebration, this team is full of returning talent that will lead this team moving forward. I’m talking about Anna Smrek, Devyn Robinson, Julia Orzol and Jade Demps, not to mention the incoming recruiting class or Kansas transfer Caroline Crawford. Look for UW volleyball to make another deep run in 2022.
3. A second scorer steps up to help Johnny Davis, leading UW Basketball to the second weekend of March Madness
Two different teams have taken the floor this year for Wisconsin men’s basketball: the lineup with Johnny Davis, and the lineup without Johnny Davis. With Johnny Davis, UW looks like a top team in the Big Ten that can make a run in March. Without him, Wisconsin looks like a team that will finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten with no tournament aspirations.
This team desperately needs a second scorer to step up and take some of the load off of Davis. Specifically, I’m looking at Brad Davison and Chucky Hepburn. If that happens, this team can get to the second weekend of the tournament. The key word is “if”. I guess that’s why it’s a wish.
2. Women’s hockey completes the three-peat
Winning a championship is extremely tough. Going back-to-back? Even tougher. A three peat? Near impossible. Wisconsin women’s hockey has the opportunity to do something that very few programs have ever done across college sports. After winning the National Championship in both 2019 and 2021 (2020 cancelled due to COVID), a championship in 2022 would complete the three-peat for women’s hockey.
Currently ranked as the No. 1 team in the country with a 17-1-2 record, the stars seem to be aligning for the Badgers. That being said, nobody is saying it will be easy. Time to lock in and get it done.
1. Graham Mertz leads Wisconsin to Indianapolis and gets over the hump
Sometimes the thing you want the most is the one that is least likely to appear underneath the tree, but it never hurts to ask.
My biggest wish this holiday season is that in 2022, Graham Mertz will finally put together a complete season, live up to the expectations that surrounded him as a 4-star recruit, and bring a Big Ten title to Madison. If the Badgers are unable to get it done next season, it will mark a decade since their last title (2012). So Graham, Braelon...PAUL, please get it done. This university, this city, this fanbase, is foaming at the mouth at the thought of this team taking down a Big Ten East powerhouse in Indianapolis.
Additionally, some of the other writers at B5Q have some holiday wishes of their own.
JJ Post: Some love for our mega-consistent women’s soccer team!
Since the turn of the century, Wisconsin women’s soccer has had a total of three losing seasons in 22 years. Since head coach Paula Wilkins took over in Madison in 2008, the team has finished with a losing record just once...her first year. The Badgers aren’t just finishing above .500, either. Wisconsin has consistently competed for Big Ten titles against Penn State and Rutgers, national competitors who constantly brings in some of the highest ranked recruits in the land. Wilkins rarely lands a class loaded with 4 or 5 stars, but her track record of finding players she thinks fits her scheme and developing those players is top notch - with her development resume including the likes of Rose Lavelle, one of the best attacking midfielders in the world when healthy. #ShesABadger.
Matt Rock: BEER SALES. Wisconsin is one of six Big Ten schools that does not sell alcohol at football games. Seems like an easy change to make, and one that would bring in a lot of money at the concession stands. In 2022, make the change.
Drew Hamm: A path forward for the women’s basketball team. Marisa Moseley seems to be the correct coach for the job based on what she says and how she carries herself. After a rough start to the season, things slowly seem to be trending upwards and it is important that we see what Moseley’s vision for the team is on the court by the end of the year. There is absolutely no reason Wisconsin should annually be one of the, if not the, worst teams in the Big Ten. I’m excited to see where Moseley takes the team.