For the third-consecutive year, the Wisconsin mens soccer team will have at least two of its regular-season matches televised by Big Ten Network. One of the networks soccer color commentators, Richard Broad, offered up his opinions on the Badgers and the Big Ten as a whole heading into the 2009 season for UWBadgers.com:
Q: The Big Ten has been one of the nations top leagues over the last few seasons. Where do you see the conference stacking up this year
A: There may be more competitive teams in such conferences as the ACC and the Big East, but there is none with more parity throughout the league than the Big Ten. Any of the seven can knock off any other on a given day.
Q: Who do you see as the favorites to take the Big Ten title
A: Indiana has been the preseason pick the last seven years. However, this year the Hoosiers have an outstanding recruiting class along with the motivation of a disappointing 2008 conference season. They have a further advantage in hosting the Big Ten tournament. They are my pick to not only finish at the top of the league, but to also contend for the national championship.
Q: How do you see the conference shaking out, from top to bottom
A: It's hard to say because there could be a number of upsets.
Q: Where do you see Wisconsin fitting into the league mix Why
A: Wisconsin was agonizingly close to having a highly successful year last fall. This could be the year the breaks go the Badgers way and they get back into the NCAA tournament.
Q: Will the Badgers strong non-conference schedule benefit them
A: It cant hurt. In the past, there has been some criticism of Wisconsins strength of schedule in non-conference opposition.
Q: What games do you have circled as the most important for UW
A: Every Big Ten contest is crucial since there are only six. However, dont you think the Indiana match (Sept. 25) will be just a little bit emotional for the new coach
Q: What does Todd Yeagley bring to the table for the Badgers
A: Great coaching genes! The apple doesnt fall far from the tree. Seriously, when you grow up in the home of the greatest coach in the history of mens intercollegiate soccer, you are bound to pick up a few things. Todd was not only a talented player but an extremely intelligent one. He served his coaching internship not only under his father but with another outstanding soccer mind in Mike Freitag. He is a fierce competitor who will bring the intensity, pride, and team orientation of Indiana soccer to Madison. I believe Todd will build on that foundation and create the same kind of winning tradition that he was part of at IU in Wisconsin.
Q: Who do you expect to be the Badgers top players on the field this year
A: Scott Lorenz had a coming-out party in 2008 when Coach Rohrman moved him up top. He must continue to be a goal-scoring threat even as a marked man this fall. Taylor Waspi has been on the verge of becoming one of the premier defenders in the conference. I believe he is the key to not only the Badger defense, but to the entire season. The team also needs the kind of special play in the net that Alex Horwath has shown flashes of in his two seasons in Madison.
Q: Whats your favorite thing about coming to Madison to cover a game
A: That its September or October. The (Big Ten) tournament was a bit frosty in November last year. I also love the view of the lake from the soccer stadium, as long as there isnt ice on it.
Q: Wheres your favorite place to grab a meal in Madison
A: It will be at the Wisconsin tailgate, as soon as Coach Yeagley introduces this IU tradition to your home games. If Dennis Fadeski, a former Indiana player and Wisconsin native, will be grilling some brats, save me a place in line.