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BadgerNotes Staff Predicts the Wisconsin Football Program’s 2023 Record

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Wisconsin football; Badgers head coach Luke Fickell
Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell runs through a drill during fall training camp at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023.

It’s game week, folks. The Wisconsin football program’s 2023 season is just around the corner.

A new era is upon us. Excitement is at an all-time high with Luke Fickell at the helm, Phil Longo‘s air raid scheme implemented, and Mike Tressel‘s reimagined defense in the fold. After one of the most exciting — and longest — off-seasons in program history, the Badgers will finally take the field in just a few days. 

Ahead of the highly-anticipated 2023 season, the Badger Notes staff compiled their predictions of the team’s final record. It’s safe to say the new era has brought in some real optimism. 

Before we get started, I just want to take a moment to thank you. Myself and the rest of the staff are thankful that you give a small part of your day to read our analysis and opinions on the Badgers. This is going to be a special season, and we are excited to finally bring in the new era and keep providing you all with content.

Now, let’s dive in.

BadgerNotes Staff Predicts the Wisconsin Football Program’s 2023 Record

Jake Maier: I go back and forth on my prediction for the season, but I’ll lock in my prediction at 10-2. Wisconsin has a very favorable schedule for the first year under a new regime. In fact, UW has the easiest strength of schedule in the entire Big Ten. It should come as no surprise that I’m penciling in the matchup vs. Ohio State as a loss, although I do think that game will be closer than some may think. The other loss I’ll pencil in will be to Illinois. I go back and forth on that game, but even with the guys the Fighting Illini lost from last year, I still think that will be a very close loss. If UW does finish 10-2, that may be just enough to get Wisconsin to the Big Ten Championship in year one under Luke Fickell.

Dylan Buboltz: I think Wisconsin goes 10-2. The Iowa-Illinois-OSU stretch will be really tough. I think UW beats Iowa, and that ends up being the deciding factor that gets Wisconsin into the Big Ten championship.

Drew Hamm: Look, when going through the schedule and looking at each matchup individually…the only game Wisconsin should be favored to lose is against Ohio State. While the Buckeyes are soft up front (on both sides of the ball) and will be breaking in a new QB, they simply have too much overall talent to lose to the Badgers. 11-1 is a completely unreasonable record to predict for UW, however, as they’ve only won 10 games once in the past five years. More likely? Wisconsin wins nine regular season games, wins the West, and gets to 10 by winning their bowl game. Ask me tomorrow, and I’ll probably predict an undefeated national title run, though.

Ryan Eilers: 10-2. I believe that Coach Fickell is the right man at the right time to lead the Wisconsin Badgers into the new college football era. After seeing TCU last season make a playoff run under first-year head coach Sonny Dykes, I have a feeling that Coach Fickell and these Wisconsin Badgers can make a real run at the College Football Playoff.

The Wisconsin football program has revamped the coaching, recruiting department, strength and conditioning, and the players — both homegrown and those from the transfer portal — have given this program an energy injection of the highest degree. The Big Ten conference schedule is not daunting, but all opponents on the Big Ten slate are formidable foes. You can get beat if you do not show up with your best. My heart is saying 15-0, but my brain is saying 10-2, a Big Ten West division title and a New Year’s Six bowl game appearance.

Trent Tetzlaff: I have Wisconsin going 11-1 this year and reaching the Big Ten title game. One loss will come to Ohio State and won’t be rather close as the Buckeyes will dominate in the explosive play department as they have the past few years. The game against Iowa will come down to the final possession, but home-field advantage will be huge. The defense will stand out this year, and more offensive weapons will allow Braelon Allen to feast in the backfield.

Lucas Valind: My record prediction will be 10-2. I think they could match up well with every team they play and have a legitimate chance of going 11-1 if all goes well, but I don’t think they’re ready to beat Ohio State yet. I’ll give them a loss against OSU, and they’ll fall to one other opponent in a West division that’s getting tougher and more competitive with great coaching hires over the last few years.

Gard Your Fickell: 11-1 (Big Ten Championship Appearance). Luke Fickell bringing on Phil Longo as OC might have been the most monumental assistant coach hire for Wisconsin football since Dave Aranda. And the 3-4 defense he brought is akin to the air raid principles & Longo’s ability to mentor QBs. This should help Mordecai hit the ground running. Plus, a great receiving core with Dike/Bell/Lewis teaming up with transfers Green/Pauling/Williams. And those light boxes they create will have Braelon Allen & Chez Mellusi running WILD all year. A true, pick-your-poison dilemma for defenses: Stop this passing attack or stop the run game. Mike Tressel inherits a highly talented group from Jim Leonhard, although, in year one, we may not see his scheme in full force.

Nevertheless, he will “mesh the elite,” so expect a big year from Hunter Wohler as a do-it-all player for him in that Dollar Package!! The early season stretch, Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio St. are the only games I can see losses coming for this squad. My pick is a tough loss at home to Ohio St., with a vengeance coming in the Big Ten Title Game?!?


Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here. Also, like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter @JakeJMaier.

Football

Wisconsin Football Week 5 Stock Report: Bye Week Blues

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Wisconsin Badgers football
Sep 10, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers logo on a flag prior to the game against the Washington State Cougars at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers football team enters their bye week with a 3-1 overall record. I’m sure many fans hoped and expected the Badgers to be 4-0 heading into the bye, but 3-1 is still a pretty good start. With a victory over Purdue last Friday, the Badgers are already 1/5 of the way to being bowl-eligible, so there’s that too.

Here is the Week 5 BadgerNotes Stock Report.

Wisconsin Football Stock Report: Stock Up

Wisconsin’s Standing in the Big Ten West

We are just getting into conference play and the Wisconsin football team is already at the top of the standings. They are currently the only team in the west division that doesn’t have a conference loss.

The Gophers lost an embarrassing game to the Northwestern Wildcats in overtime after being up 31-10 with just over two minutes left in the third quarter.

Nebraska lost to Minnesota in Week 1.

Iowa just got destroyed by Penn State last week, 31-0.

Purdue lost to Wisconsin last week, dropping their conference record to 0-1.

Now, with the Badgers having a bye this week, there’s a situation where the rest of the West will continue to cannibalize and lose games that will give the Wisconsin football team an even larger lead without even playing a game. Right now, the Badgers are sitting pretty well in the division.

Wisconsin Football Stock Report: Stock Down

Bye Weeks

Boo! Bye weeks suck. Having to wait more than two weeks between Wisconsin football games sucks, especially now that their offense started to get rolling. Now there’s a chance the team could lose the rhythm they worked to get into the past few weeks.

On the positive side, if there are any Wisconsin football players who are banged up, this bye week will give them some time to heal up before they play another game.


Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers football news, notes, opinions, and analysis. You can also follow Christian Borman on Twitter @christianborman.

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Special Teams: The Unsung Heroes of Wisconsin Football

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Wisconsin Badgers football punter Atticus Bertrams
Wisconsin punter Atticus Bertrams (49) punts for 42 yds during the second quarter of the game against Buffalo on Saturday September 2, 2023 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis.

The Wisconsin Badgers football program is headed into the bye week on a high note following a 38-17 win over Purdue. The Badgers had some very apparent struggles throughout the first four games of the season, but there was a lot to like about UW’s performance against the Boilermakers.

It doesn’t get talked about nearly enough, but Wisconsin has had some excellent play from the special teams unit thus far. The excitement around the program was at an all-time high for some of the other phases — and I’m certainly not here to blame anyone for that — but we must give credit where it’s due. Wisconsin has some real promise with its special teams, and they deserve some praise.

Special Teams: The Unsung Heroes of Wisconsin Football

Nathanial Vakos

We need to talk about Nathanial Vakos. The former Ohio transfer has undoubtedly been one of the biggest bright spots for Wisconsin through the first four games of the 2023 season. 

So far, Vakos has nailed all seven field goal attempts and been perfect on extra-point tries. After his performance against Purdue, where he went 3-for-3 on field goal opportunities and hit three extra point attempts, Vakos earned Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors. Against Washington State, Vakos also hit all three of his field goal attempts, with his longest coming in at 49 yards, which remains his longest field goal of the season.

Having a kicker of Vakos’ caliber is a blessing that can’t be understated. While he may not get the most attention due to his role on the special teams, he certainly deserves his flowers for how he has fared through the first four weeks of the 2023 season.

Atticus Bertrams

Another player who doesn’t get enough recognition is Atticus Bertrams. The freshman has quietly put together a solid 2023 season thus far. Through four games, the Australia native has punted 16 times for an average of 42.5 yards per punt. On top of that, Bertrams has only had one punt returned. Last week against Purdue, Bertrams had just two punts, but his longest boot came in at 60 yards, his longest of the season. 

Although he is an unheralded member of the special teams, the freshman has been impressive, considering he never punted in a game before the 2023 season. His marks aren’t the most impressive, but there is a solid foundation for the Australian native. 

Wisconsin Football WR/Returner Chimere Dike

Though Vakos has been the most impressive player on the special teams — in my opinion — Chimere Dike has done an excellent job on return opportunities. 

Dike was impressive during his performance against Purdue, logging returns for 39 and 34 yards. With those marks, Dike is now second in the Big Ten on punt returns, with an average of 9.6 yards per return. On top of that, he’s fourth in the conference on kickoff returns, logging an average of 32 yards per return. 

The senior receiver has undoubtedly been one of the biggest bright spots for the Wisconsin football program early in their 2023 campaign. You’d love to see him break off one of his returns for six, and that certainly isn’t out of the question with his skillset. 

The special teams unit has played a big role to start the season, and their contributions will continue to be crucial as the season chugs along. 

As it stands, the Wisconsin Badgers football team is 3-1 heading into the bye week. UW will take on Rutgers on October 7th in Madison as both teams look to improve to 4-1.


Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here. Also, like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter @JakeJMaier.

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Wisconsin Football Named a Recruiting Finalist for NFL Pro Bowler’s Son

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Wisconsin Badgers Football head coach Luke Fickell
Sep 16, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell prior to the game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin Badgers football team received some good news on the recruiting front Tuesday evening. The coveted Eugene Hilton Jr., a promising 2025 wide receiver hailing from Zionsville, Indiana, made a significant move by narrowing his list of potential schools to six, and the Badgers proudly found their place among them.

As Hilton Jr. looks ahead to his collegiate journey, he’ll weigh his options between a few notable programs. The final six schools in his consideration are Ole Miss, Kentucky, Missouri, Florida International University (FIU), Miami, and our very own University of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Football Recruiting Still in the Mix for Son of an NFL Pro Bowler

According to the industry-generated composite recruiting rankings, Eugene Hilton Jr. is the No. 393 player in the 2025 cycle, the No. 55 WR, and the No. 4 recruit to hail from Indiana.

Currently, Hilton is considered a three-star recruit and one of the top 2025 pass-catching prospects in the Midwest — and the Badgers would be happy to add him to a verbal commits list that already includes quarterback Landyn Locke and defensive back Remington Moss.

Now, if the name Hilton sounds a tad familiar to Wisconsin football fans, you’re spot on. This dynamic young talent happens to be the offspring of none other than former NFL pro-bowler T.Y. Hilton. During his illustrious NFL career, the elder Hilton made a name for himself with the Indianapolis Colts and the Dallas Cowboys.

With the Badgers making the cut in Hilton Jr.’s selection process, it’s a testament to the allure and potential of Wisconsin football & its ability to attract new talent because of their air raid offense.

As the recruiting process unfolds, all eyes will be on Eugene Hilton Jr. as he evaluates his options. While the path to securing his commitment may be winding, one thing is clear: Wisconsin Badgers football is very much in the running for the talented young wideout.



Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

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