No. 7 Wisconsin

One of the things I've always liked about Wisconsin is that the Badgers know exactly who they are and make no apologies for it.

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Barry Alvarez installed the culture in his 16 years as head coach (1990-2005) and has maintained it ever since in his role as director of athletics. That culture includes a strong running game, a stingy defense, and keeping mistakes to a minimum. It really doesn't matter who the head coach is. He's going to win because of the culture.

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After Bret Bielema took the Badgers to three straight Rose Bowls he left for Arkansas. Paul Chryst came in and won 34 games and two Big Ten West championships in his first three seasons, including a 13-1 record last season. The Badgers' only loss was 27-21 to Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game.

Guess what? Wisconsin is going to do it again in 2018. And guess how they are going to do it?

This could be Wisconsin's best offense in a long, long time. Ten of 11 starters return including running back Jonathan Taylor, who was magnificent as a freshman, rushing for 1,977 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The entire offensive line is back and really the only question mark surrounds quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who completed 62.3 percent of his passes but also threw 15 interceptions. That's too many.

Now there is some work to do as only three starters return from a defense that led the Big Ten in scoring defense (13.9 ppg) and total defense (262.1 ypg). But I'm banking on Wisconsin despite a schedule that includes road trips to Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, and Penn State. The Badgers will win the Big Ten West and then give Ohio State all the Buckeyes can handle in the Big Ten championship game.

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