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Why Wisconsin Football Will Beat Buffalo in the Season Opener



Wisconsin Badgers Football helmet
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Frey-AMF Photos. Follow @amfphotos2020 on Instagram to see more.

The long wait is over. It’s officially game week for Wisconsin football. After an offseason full of news and changes within the program, it’s time to see what the product on the field will be for the Badgers this season.

The first test for the team will come on Saturday when they take on Buffalo at Camp Randall Stadium. This is why you can expect the Badgers football team to win that game and start their season on a winning note.

Wisconsin Football Will Be Determined to Win Luke Fickell’s First Game as Head Coach

Unless you live under a rock, or maybe something that isn’t a rock, you’ve heard that Wisconsin football has a new coach at the helm in 2023. Former Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell will take over the reins for the Badgers, with his first game coming on Saturday.

Fickell has already brought tremendous excitement to the program throughout the offseason with hires on his coaching staff and his efforts on the recruiting trail. Now, the Ohio State alumnus will look to have his team bring the same level of excitement to the field in Madison.

The Badgers will be determined to get Fickell his first victory in his first game as head coach. With the transfer portal recently becoming a massive thing in college football, Wisconsin football saw a lot of change in their roster this offseason. Even the last regime’s players still around did so for Fickell.

There would be no better way to re-pay the coach you’ve committed to play for than to start the season in the win column.

Wisconsin Football OC Phil Longo Introduces a New Offense in 2023

One of the most intriguing storylines following the Wisconsin football program this offseason is the incorporation of the air raid offense. After years of the program building a tradition of smash-mouth, run-first offense, and winning in the trenches, the 2023 season will bring something different.

Coach Fickell swung big after he was hired in November when he went and secured North Carolina offensive coordinator Phil Longo to join his staff. Over the past few seasons, Longo has made a name for himself as one of college football’s best offensive minds. At North Carolina, Longo produced a batch of playmakers, most notably current Washington Commanders starting quarterback Sam Howell and Tar Heels QB Drake Maye, who’s expected to be a Heisman Trophy candidate in 2023.

With a flurry of playmakers on offense, the Badgers have an exciting team in the making this season. If Longo’s offense can have the effect in Madison that it did during his time in Chapel Hill, we’re about to see things at Wisconsin that we’ve never seen before.

While we expect an offense similar to what North Carolina has run the last few years, the Badgers are a different team with different personnel. We won’t know exactly how it will work until game time, which may make scouting the team challenging for Buffalo and a competitive advantage for Wisconsin.

Mike Tressel Will Build Upon the Foundation Jim Leonhard Laid

It’s possible that between the head coaches and coordinators, Wisconsin football has a top 5 candidate at each spot. Defensively, Wisconsin might have arguably the best coordinator in the nation, with Mike Tressel. Somehow, Wisconsin went from Jim Leonhard to Tressel.

Tressel has proven himself to be an elite defensive coordinator on Fickell’s staff in Cincinnati. In the 2021 and 2022 seasons, his defenses ranked in the top 5 in opponent yards per play.

He will bring a new defensive scheme to the team. Under Leonhard, the team ran a 3-4 scheme. Tressel brings a 3-3-5 system to Madison in 2023. While reasonably similar regarding personnel, the two have differing approaches to the game. Leonhard focused hard on having teams geared toward stopping the run, while Tressel’s defenses have thrived on having elite secondaries.

Tressel’s defense may replicate the same level of success in the Big Ten. If he can continue to get the most out of his players, as he did at Cincinnati, Wisconsin’s defense could cause fits for Buffalo and all of their opponents in 2023.

Final Thoughts

The Badgers can’t afford to sleepwalk through the game because they’re playing a mid-major team. Buffalo has succeeded in the MAC over the past few years, so they’re not an opponent you can take for granted. Expect Luke Fickell to have his team fired up and ready to go for what could be a great 2023 season for Wisconsin football.

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Lucas Valind is a correspondent for covering Wisconsin football and basketball. His previous bylines covering the Badgers can be found at FanSided's Badger of Honor and Dairyland Express.