Graham Mertz

Graham Mertz and Wisconsin will host Illinois on Oct. 1 at Camp Randall Stadium.

➜ Coach: Paul Chryst

➜ 2021 record: 9-4

➜ Projected 2022 record: 9-3

➜ Circle the date: Sept. 24 at Ohio State

➜ Projected bowl trip: Duke’s Mayo

➜ Why No. 22: One great player can make up for a lot of shortcomings. For the Badgers, that one guy is tailback Braelon Allen, who is on a Ron Dayne-like career path after only one season. Remember, he wasn’t even the starter early in the season, but he forced his way into the lineup and ran for 1,268 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged almost seven yards per carry and just turned 18 years old in January. ... Three starters are back on the offensive line, which is a plus. ... Wisconsin won’t contend in the West without improved play from quarterback Graham Mertz, who threw more interceptions (11) than TD passes (10). ... Superstar defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard will have to work his magic with only three starters back. Fortunately, one of them is linebacker Nick Herbig, who had nine sacks in 2021. ... The nonconference schedule is soft, with a visit from Washington State the most difficult. In the conference, the Badgers have crossover games against Ohio State and Michigan State. They also travel to Iowa.

BOB ASMUSSEN

Bob Asmussen can be reached at 217-393-8248 or by email at asmussen@news-gazette.com.

College Football Reporter/Columnist

Bob Asmussen is a college football reporter and columnist for The News-Gazette. His email is asmussen@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@BobAsmussen).

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