We are closing in on the Wisconsin football season, so now feels like a good time to make some bold predictions for the Badgers in 2022.
The long-anticipated return of Wisconsin football is nearly over, Badger fans. All offseason debate, training camp hype, and positional question marks will finally be answered when the UW returns to the field on September 3 against the Illinois State Redbirds at Camp Randall Stadium.
Last season, Wisconsin entered the year ranked No. 12 by the Associated Press but stumbled out of the gate and finished 9-4, failing to win the Big Ten West for the second consecutive season.
With the season kicking off later this week, Badger Notes goes out on a limb and offers three bold predictions for Wisconsin football in 2022.
1. Wisconsin has two 1,000-yard running backs.
The University of Wisconsin, better known as RBU, hasn’t had a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in the same season since Melvin Gordon and James White did it back in 2013.
However, Wisconsin football is in a relatively fortunate position; they essentially have two starting caliber running backs in Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi.
Allen will step into a workhorse role for the Badgers and build on his impressive freshman season. Mellusi, on the other hand, is also one of Wisconsin’s top offensive weapons and will garner his fair share of touches.
It’s been nearly a decade since a pair of Badgers running backs hit the 1,000-yard milestone in the same season; it’s also never happened at Wisconsin during the Paul Chryst era.
The only other UW RB pairing to achieve this feat was James White and John clay, who did it back in 2010. Had Montee Ball accumulated four more rushing yards, they would have had three 1,000-yard rushers that season.
Behind Wisconsin’s dominant run-blocking offensive line, I believe the tandem of Allen and Mellusi will become Wisconsin’s first 1,000-yard rushing duo since 2013.
2. Nick Herbig records more than 12.5 sacks.
As a sophomore, Nick Herbig led the Big Ten in pash-rush win rate and registered 64 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, four pass deflections, and two forced fumbles, receiving Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors.
— Badger Film Clips (@Badgers_Film) August 23, 2022
After an offseason of training at the Bro-Barn, the Hawaii native has a chance to produce one of the most dominant seasons by a Wisconsin OLB in school history, cementing his name among the greats that came before him.
Standing at 6-foot-2, 228-pounds, Herbig is going to wreak havoc on the entire Big Ten in 2022; his blend of power and speed as a pass-rushing specialist is why I’m picking him to record more than 12.5 sacks, placing him in the top three single-season sack leaders in program history.
3. Graham Mertz throws 20 touchdown passes.
If I had made this prediction for Graham Mertz two years ago, it wouldn’t have seemed like a bold prediction whatsoever. In 2022, the third-year starter enters the season with the bar of expectation seemingly on the floor after two below-average seasons as the QB1.
Despite the maddening inconsistencies, I still believe in Mertz’s arm talent and work ethic.
— Badger Film Clips (@Badgers_Film) August 1, 2022
New offensive coordinator Bobby Engram has put in the time with Mertz to get the ball out quicker, mitigate risks, and play efficiently within the framework of the offense. If the coaching sticks, I’m picking the Kansas native to double last season’s passing touchdown total, which was only 10.
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