While Ohio State being ineligible certainly helped in the Badgers’ path to the conference championship game and the Rose Bowl, they still did what they needed to do to get there and posted an 8-5 record overall on the season.
Heading into 2013, the Badger football team will transition into a new phase as former coach Bret Bielema moved on to the Arkansas Razorbacks and head coach Gary Andersen has come over from Utah State. The Badgers will also start life without star running back Montee Ball, who had a phenomenal career in Madison.
Andersen will bring new changes to the traditional Wisconsin offense we are used to seeing. While they will still play some power ball, Andersen will start to spread things out as he has done in the past and will look to improve the Badgers’ numbers from 2012.
The Badgers finished sixth in the conference in scoring offense last season, scoring 29.6 points per game on the year. They finished seventh in total offense, averaging 393.3 yards per game on the year. They will look to move into the top half of these categories in 2013.
The Badgers return many of their skill position players in 2013 as well as their leading passer from last season in sophomore Joel Stave. Stave split time with other quarterbacks before taking over the starting job at the end of the season. He showed a good arm and leadership and should improve greatly this season.
Montee Ball is gone, but the Badgers return possibly the best backup running back in all of college football in James White. White ran for 806 yards and 12 touchdowns behind Ball and will finally get his shot in the starting role. Dynamic back Melvin Gordon also returns and can line up in the backfield or at receiver.
Jared Abbrederis returns for the final season of his stellar career and is one of the best wideouts in college football. He is one of the biggest playmakers in the Big Ten and always makes a big catch when needed.
With eight starters returning for the Badgers, including three on the offensive line, it should be a smooth transition into the Gary Andersen era on offense and the Badgers should be right back in contention for a Big Ten championship.