Welcome to our 10-part series highlighting our picks for the way-too-early top 10 preseason teams in the nation for 2010.
One at a time, our top 10 will be revealed, leading up to No. 1.
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Number 10—Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers proved me wrong in 2009. I thought seven wins would be about the best they could hope for, but after treading on thin ice for the past two so-so seasons, Bret Bielema has Wisconsin back on track.
To almost everyone's surprise, the Badgers beat Miami 20-14 in the Champs Sports Bowl to finish the season 10-3.
With running back (and Big Ten Offensive POY) John Clay coming back, and quarterback Scott Tolzien exceeding the output I foresaw for him, the Badgers could be scary good on offense in 2010.
Tight end Garrett Graham is the only offensive starter leaving. Five defensive starters will have to be replaced, but that unit wasn't exactly the Badgers strong suit in 2009, so they should be just as good defensively in 2010—whether or not that is saying much, or not, remains to be seen.
Much like 2009, the Badgers' out-of-conference schedule isn't exactly full of challenges. UW will travel to Vegas to take on UNLV, and they will host San Jose State, Arizona State and FCS foe Austin Peay.
In conference, Wisconsin will travel to Michigan State, Iowa and Michigan, but will host Ohio State at Camp Randall in what should prove to be their toughest game of the year.
2010 Regular Season Projection
Probable / Possible Losses
Ohio State, Iowa / Michigan, Northwestern
For my money, 10-2 is possible and the most likely record for Wisconsin in 2010, but 8-4 is also possible. I believe UW will win nine or 10 games, and finish third in the Big Ten, likely behind Ohio State and Iowa.
Number 9, coming soon!