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What Will 2013 Hold for the Wisconsin Badgers?

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Wisconsin Badgers are one of the nation’s most consistent programs. Thanks to then-coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez (who did coach the team in the 2013 Rose Bowl), the team has become one of the Big Ten‘s best. However, when former head coach Bret Bielema left the program to coach Arkansas, it left many fans scratching his or her head. Of course, we soon learn that he received a nice payday from the Razorbacks. Taking over the team is Gary Andersen from Utah State.

But does this move tell us that Bielema is thinking that Wisconsin has ended its run as one of the nation’s top programs?

Losing senior tailback Montee Ball will be a huge loss. He’s been one of the nation’s best running backs and the glue of the offense. But the offensive line returns four starters next season, and quarterback Curt Phillips has been granted a sixth-year of eligibility by the NCAA. If the Badgers can find some more help at receiver and get production for a stable of good young running backs, this team may not miss a beat. Defensively, the line should be the strength of this team, but departures from the linebacking core and secondary may prove to be costly.

There’s a lot of talent on this roster and certainly Andersen is an accomplished coach in his own right. If he’s able to improve the Badgers’ passing attack and areas of the defense, the Badgers should be in the hunt. But there are some huge question marks, and only time will tell what holds for the future of this program.