Russell Wilson, a productive and occasionally-elusive QB who had three very good years at NC State, has decided to transfer to Wisconsin. He’ll announce the decision on ESPN later today. Wilson will only have one year of eligibility remaining, but because he graduated in four years from NC State, he can play immediately.
Wilson’s decision – he selected Wisconsin over Auburn – turns the Badgers from 7-or-8 win, a pre-New Year’s Day bowl team into a Rose Bowl contender in the Big Ten.
He’ll have two of Wisconsin’s top three running backs returning (James White – 1,018 yards, 14 TDs) and Montee Ball (18 TDs), the Badgers’ No. 2 WR (Nick Toon – 36 catches, 3 TDs), and perhaps most importantly, three of five offensive lineman are back (though replacing monster left tackle, 1st round pick Gabe Carimi, will be impossible). It appears the biggest concern on offense is who else besides injury-prone Toon catches passes from Wilson.
The defense appears to only lose three starters (one of them is All-American JJ Watt, though).
Lastly, the all-important schedule: they get Nebraska at home (Saturday night, Jump Around, wheee!), visiting Michigan State and Ohio State back-to-back in October will be difficult, and the regular season finale is at home against Penn State. Assuming the Badgers are unbeaten going into the Nebraska game, Wisconsin would probably vault into the Top 10 with a victory over the Huskers. I’m not sure they can beat MSU and OSU on consecutive weekends, on the road, though.
Because of what went down at Ohio State this offseason, I think Wisconsin’s 10-2 record will be enough to win the “Leaders” division and reach the Big Ten title game, where it’ll play … Michigan State or Nebraska.