- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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We devoted a lot of attention to Russell Wilson's transfer to Wisconsin last week. That was for two reasons: A) He's kind of a big deal. He has many leather-bound books, and his apartment smells of rich mahogany. And B) It's the middle of summer.
I think the Wilson news is huge and makes the Badgers the Big Ten preseason favorite. But I know many of you disagree and think that is overstated, especially for a guy who is arriving in July who doesn't know any of his teammates.
Well, we like to be fair and balanced around here. Colleague K.C. Joyner has an Insider article on Tuesday predicting that Wilson might struggle at quarterback for Wisconsin. Joyner says the move looks overhyped and will be ultimately disappointing.
Two major reasons why he comes to this conclusion:
Joyner says Wilson was mediocre in 2010, ranking fifth in the ACC in yards per attempt (6.8) and sixth in passer rating (127.1). "If he wasn't a dominant quarterback in his conference last season, why is it automatically assumed that he will be an elite passer this year?" Joyner asks. "This would be a valid question in any respect, but Wilson also will have to acclimate to a new playbook and new coaches, and will be joining a squad that lost three of its top five pass-catchers to graduation."
Wilson doesn't compare favorably to the man he's replacing, Scott Tolzien, in some key categories. Tolzien averaged 9.2 YPA and had 165.92 passer rating last year while leading the Badgers to the Rose Bowl. Tolzien's numbers on all downfield throws were much higher than Wilson's in 2010. Wilson only matched or exceeded Tolzien on short throws.
In short, Joyner says the expectations are simply too high around Wilson.
"Wilson won only 11 conference games in three seasons with the Wolfpack," he writes. "The chances that he will automatically run off seven or eight conference victories in an even tougher league or guide his team to an unbeaten season on the way to a berth in the BCS title game seem quite low."
We shall see.
22hAndrea Adelson and Austin Ward
1dAndrea Adelson and Austin Ward