Wisconsin Football Breakdown

Badger Nation takes an early look at the 2011 Wisconsin football team.

Last season's record: 11-2

Returning starters/letterwinners: 11 (plus PK/P)/52

Key losses: QB Scott Tolzien, LT Gabe Carimi, DE J.J. Watt. The Badgers lost three solid athletes to the NFL. Tolzien holds school records for career completion percentage at .681 (min. 300 att.) and career QB efficiency rating of 153.2 (min. 300 att.), Carimi was the 2010 Outland Trophy winner and Watt was a second-team All-American after leading the team in TFLs, sacks, quarterback hurries, forced fumbles and blocked kicks.

Key returnees: RB Montee Ball/James White, LB Chris Borland, S Aaron Henry. There are plenty of solid athletes returning to Wisconsin, but its hard to argue against this group. White lead the team in rushing yards last season while Ball led the team in touchdown, Borland was the conference freshman of the year in '09 and is finally healthy after redshirting last season and Henry is the team leader and one of the toughest players on the defense.

Best game: October 1, at Camp Randall Stadium/vs. Nebraska

Projected finish (regular season): 11-1

Outlook: The Badgers return just 11 starters, but it's a misleading stat considering Wisconsin has 25 players on the roster that have started at least one game, including quarterback Russell Wilson, who made a big splash in the offseason by deciding to 8,545 career passing yards and 76 career touchdown passes to Madison. The Wilson decision fills a major gap and weakness for Wisconsin. The schedule is manageable and the Leaders Division is weak, meaning the Badgers should be playing in Indianapolis with a chance to go back to Pasadena or better.

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