ESPN.com Big Ten chat

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This afternoon at ESPN.com, Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg hosted a live chat. I've pulled out the relevant Badger questions but feel free to read the whole thing by following the link at the bottom.

Tyler (Madison)

I think if Tolzien stays healthy and plays like he did down the stretch last year and the defense fills the void left by schofield and marargos that the Badgers have the talent to either make a rose bowl run or even a national title run. What do you think?

Adam Rittenberg (4:09 PM)

Tolzien's health is huge, Tyler, especially without much depth behind him. But you hit on it: filling the holes on defense likely will determine whether Wisconsin can make the jump from good to great. Schofield and Maragos both are big losses, and Wisconsin has several players (Borland, Taylor) coming off of offseason surgeries. I think there's enough depth there to do some special things, but as always, Wisconsin has to stay healthy and have some things go its way.

Craig (Atlanta)

As much as I hate to say it preseason rankings make a huge difference throughout the season. If you are not ranked it is very hard to get to the BCS. Many people think Ohio State will be in the top 5, and Iowa and Wisconsin will at least be in the top 15. I think Wisconsin should be in the top 10 as well as Iowa. Where do you think these three teams should land?

Adam Rittenberg (4:35 PM)

Craig, I agree with you about preseason rankings and I hate it, too. There shouldn't be polls until at least Oct. 1, in my view. Ohio State will definitely be in the top 5. I've seen Wisconsin and Iowa anywhere from No. 8-No. 15. I think we'll see two top 10 teams from the Big Ten and three top 15 squads. I would put Iowa in the top 10 and Wisconsin at around No. 11 or No. 12.

Jerry (Wisconsin)

In your key stretch series you predicted Wisconsin will go at least 3-1. Which games do you see the badgers winning?

Adam Rittenberg (4:48 PM)

I like the way the Badgers match up against Michigan State and Minnesota, so there's 2-0 right there. It's too early to predict the outcomes of the Ohio State or Iowa games. I just can't see Wisconsin losing both again, so I went with a split.

Arman (Washington, DC)

Looking at the last 2 meetings between Ohio State and Wisconsin, the Badgers could have easily won those games. In 2008, the Buckeyes won on a final drive and semi-dramatic touchdown run by Pryor. It was a very close game. Last year, the Badgers outgained the buckeyes by over 200 yards I think, but lost because of int's being returned for TDs and a kick-off return for a TD. Assuming that the Badgers can erase those types of costly mistakes, what odds do you give them of beating the Buckeyes this year in Madtown? Keep in mind that it will be a night game, giving the always rabid Badger fans all the more time to "get ready" for the game during the day.

Adam Rittenberg (4:50 PM)

Good points here, Arman. But erasing those mistakes against the Buckeyes is never easy. Ohio State has built a Big Ten dynasty on forcing its opponents to mess up. This is a huge game for Scott Tolzien, who did a good job of limiting mistakes last year except against the Buckeyes. I can't see Wisconsin winning this game without a big performance from Tolzien. It should be an electric night in Madison, and I hope the ESPN.com powers that be send me there that week.

Read: Chat with Adam Rittenberg

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