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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Here's the forecast for Wisconsin in 2009.
1. Dustin Sherer and Curt Phillips both start games at quarterback this fall -- Sherer figures to get the first shot and could stay there throughout the fall, but Phillips' athleticism and youth will tempt the coaching staff. Wisconsin needs some continuity under center, and Phillips might be able to provide it if he continues to make progress after a late-spring push. The quarterback position will once again frustrate Badgers fans at times, but with three solid tight ends and an improved group of wide receivers, the passing game should be better.
2. The front four will be the strength of the Badgers' defense -- Sure, three multiyear starters are gone (Mike Newkirk, Jason Chapman and Matt Shaughnessy), but the line had an excellent offseason and boasts a nice mix of youth and experience. Senior end O'Brien Schofield is ready to lead, and Central Michigan transfer J.J. Watt will be one of the Big Ten's most valuable additions this fall. Young linemen Brendan Kelly and Louis Nzegwu also provide reasons for optimism up front.
3. Wisconsin capitalizes on a very favorable schedule -- This could easily be a six-win team that ends up 8-4, thanks to a beneficial slate. The Badgers open with four consecutive games at Camp Randall Stadium, where they remain extremely tough to beat. Their two toughest home games (Michigan State and Iowa) are both winnable, and aside from a trip to Ohio State, the road slate doesn't look too daunting. Head coach Bret Bielema will stop the slide after seeing his wins total drop in each of the past two seasons.