UW Health Sports Medicine 

What's next?

After amassing a 10-3 record and ending the 2009 season ranked 16th in both major polls, the Wisconsin football team is facing a vastly different landscape than last year at this time. With 18 starters slated to return in 2010 (10 on offense/six on defense/both kickers) and coming off an impressive bowl victory, the national media has adopted the Badgers as one of their early preseason darlings.

SI.com pegs UW at 10th in its "Early 2010 Top 25," saying, "With a massive, intact-from-2009 line bulldozing a path for backs John Clay and Montee Ball, the Badgers should have little trouble controlling the clock. That has to make coach Bret Bielema smile."

ESPN.com's "Way too early 2010 Top 25" also slots the Badgers at No. 10, saying, in part, "With tailback John Clay coming back, and quarterback Scott Tolzien making big strides at season's end, the Badgers should be very good on offense in 2010."

The latest copy of the Sporting News features a full-page photo of Scott Tolzien as well as comments from Wisconsin A.D. Barry Alvarez, former Badger QB Jim Sorgi and Indiana head coach Bill Lynch as to why UW is a solid pick at No. 10 in their "10 for '10."

Rivals.com checks in with the Badgers one spot higher than the other three, at No. 9. "RB John Clay's decision to remain in school was a boost to the Badgers' Big Ten hopes in 2010. QB Scott Tolzien should be better, and the offensive line will be a team strength. The defense should be one of the best in the Big Ten."

With a 38-14 record in head coach Bret Bielema's four seasons, the Badgers are tied for the 15th-best winning percentage in the country over that time period. It certainly seems as though people think Wisconsin will build upon that record next season.

I'm sure there will be more "Way too early Top 25's" coming in the next few weeks and months but as it stands now, it looks as though the Badgers will be somewhere in the top 15 when they take the field against UNLV on Sept. 4 in Las Vegas.