1999 Badger Football Previews

Last fall before the football season began, I made a few predictions about the upcoming season (some serious and some tongue in cheek). I thought it would kind of fun to go back and look at them in hindsight.

August 16, 1999

Normally, I pull bits and pieces of Badger info from all over the internet, but try to refrain from pulling huge chunks from sites such as Inside Wisconsin or BadgerPlus. For instance, I might refer to an article that appears in one of those online publications, but simply copying it and stating it as my own isn't too cool (or legal I would guess). However, today I am going to make an exception and post all the "sneak peak" info from Barry Alvarez's new site, BAlvarez.com. This will be the last blatant reposting of info from his site since frankly, it is the last time I will have access to the site and its info (yesterday was the last "free" day). I also figure it is doing them a little free advertising. If you like the info listed below, go check out the site and subscribe. (NOTE: I didn't post everything, but just large chunks of it and combined some element to make more coherrent points.)

First, here are the goals for fall practice as listed by Alvarez:


Prepare both QB’s for the season. If one distinguishes himself, so be it.
Find depth at FB.
Find depth at WR.
Find depth at OT.


Find depth at CB.
Find depth at OLB.
Develop a consistent pass rush.

Kicking Game:

Continue productivity on the special teams.

Here are Alvarez's impressions of the first-year players after four practices as well as some of the highlights of their pre-season strength and agility testing:

Michael Bennett, Milwaukee Tech. H.S. (Milwaukee, WI): Looking good after a summer here. Combining his sub 10.5 100M speed and 201 lbs. bodyweight, I'm excited about his prospects. We were granted 2 days of practice with him when the freshman arrive. This will give us a good chance to look at him in the RB position. Explosive lower body. Runs with great quickness using long strides, great burst. Will audition at TB, Kick returner, Punt returner and a variety of special teams assignments for us. Has been impressive along with Williams at TB. Bennett posted a 38.25 inch vertical jump and benched 290 lbs. Completed the shuttle in a group-best of 43.5 sec

Byron Brown: Dett says he is showing great quickness and change-of-direction. Great body control and quickness for a WR. Appears to be a playmaker.

Lee Evans, Bedford H.S. (Bedford, OH): A WR who carries himself with a demeanor that belies his age. Polished for a first year player. Soft hands, enough power in his legs to potentially help us this year. Smooth natural athlete from same high school as Chambers. Has shown ability to perhaps follow in Chris’s footsteps. 32.75 inch vertical leap.

Jim Sorgi, Fraser H.S. (Fraser, MI): Tall (6'4") QB with quick delivery, improved each practice, as he became more familiar with offense. Good start so far. Has impressed his teammates with arm strength, mobility and athletic ability playing summer catch with our WR’s. Ran the shuttle in 45.5 seconds.

Rob Tucker, Northrop H.S. (Fort Wayne, IN): A TE who possibility can help us as long snapper this year. Has better speed than our current core of TE's. A hopeful replacement for Mike Schneck for the long/short snapping duties. 300 lbs bench and 49 sec shuttle for a TE.

BJ Tucker, Nicolet H.S. (Bayside, WI): Another Wisconsin player who like Bennett is a sub 10.5 100M, played well in Wisconsin State all-star game. Like many freshman skill players, his first camp will be used to evaluate his potential to help us immediatelyWill be in the initial 2-deep. Could help in the nickel or dime situations. Appears to have raw physical tools to become productive. Impressed with a 33.75 inch vertical, 275 lbs bench, and 44 second shuttle. Ahead of both Fletcher and Echols at this point of their careers.

Scott Wille, Oconomowoc H.S. (Oconomowoc, WI): Big (6'3") strong frame with as strong an arm as we have ever recruited. May have to soften some throws. Has seemed to pick up offense well, thus far. Has been throwing the ball well when playing summer catch with our WR's. Arm strength and accuracy are positives. 45 second shuttle.

Broderick Williams, Needville H.S. (Needville, TX): Another sub 10.5 100M, he will get a shot to provide depth at our tailback position. Impressive size and speed. Another legitimate track star (10.5 100M). Showed great body control and ability to make moves on the move. Won his shuttle heat in 45 sec. and had a 33 inch vertical.

Jamaal Wilson Weston H.S., (Ft. Lauderdale, FL): Big (6'4') WR. Has tremendous up side. Has improved with each practice. Impressed many people here.

Lance Young, Beaumont H.S. (Florissant, MO): Got better with each practice. Turns from receiver into runner with ease. Showed outstanding speed. Posted a 30.25 inch vertical leap

Nick Cochart, (Southern Door, WI): Excellent technique. Has been in our HS camp for multiple high school years. May be farther along than Eric Mahlik. Benched 325.

Corey Martin, (Lake Tahoe, CA): Good size and speed. Has a chance to contribute on special teams. Posted a 315 lbs. bench.

Matt Mialik, (Middleton, WI): Showed very soft hands. Has potential as a long snapper.

Mark Neuser, (Milwaukee, WI): Has shown a strong leg and has good potential as a kicker.

Sal DiMucci: Sal is a mature young man. His work ethic is a pleasant surprise for a freshman. Benched 325.

David Lantigua: He's been in our workouts, we're hoping he can provide competition immediately at kicker.

Jeff Mack, (Madison, WI): Looked good in summer workouts, played well in the Wisconsin State all-star game. Will get a look at ILB in camp, as well as special teams.

Jael Speights, (Barrington, IL): At 245 lbs., a good FB candidate. Benched 310 lbs.

Kingsley Anderson, (Blancharsville, WI): An in-state product impressed with a 335 lb. bench, and a 47 sec. 300 yd shuttle.

Wendell Davidson, (Detroit, MI): A RB prospect with a 325 lbs. bench.

Russ Kuhns: Younger brother of Chad (Chad will start at FB for us), 390 lbs. bench press. Will rep at ILB.

Jason Shonkwiler: Over from Pewaukee, had a 31 inch vertical leap.

Both Isaac Booker and Stephon Watson will be academically ineligible to participate this fall. We feel that our campus is the best place for these players, utilizing our academic support systems and getting them familiar with our program. We look for big things from them both in the fall of 2000...

Overall, a very athletic incoming class. A handful will make contributions this season. Just who these will be will become more clear as we put pads on and start contact.

Here are the goals that Coach Alvarez lays out for each Badger newcomer:

1. Graduate with a degree from the University of Wisconsin.
2. Contribute to the football program.
3. Win championships.

Here are Coach Alvarez's comments on some of the returning players:

Ron Dayne: Clearly in the best shape of his career. Bodyweight hanging in the mid-to-upper fifties. We expect him to hit the field south of 255 lbs. While Dett gave the upper classmen a week of active rest to get away from campus, Ron is choosing to stay on campus to preserve his conditioning momentum. 1717 yds.: That is the number to surpass Ricky Williams and gain the all-time NCAA rushing record. Was voted a Captain by teammates.

Chris McIntosh: Another Captain (second year), who has offered superior leadership this summer. Big Mac was 315 lbs.(as-of Monday).

Chris Chambers: At 212 lbs., as quick, as cut, as strong as we have seen him.

Chris Ghidorzi: Back to full health after being bothered with some late-season (1998) injuries. Looks to have a productive senior season. Captain.

Donnel Thompson: A great leader for us this off-season. Will be attending Hula Bowl with Ghidorzi. Second-year Captain.

Jason Doering: Continues to tighten his body. Would like to enter camp with bodyweight in the high 190's and retain his quickness. Will be a Captain for us with junior eligibility.

Finally, most of these have been listed on this page before, but here is a bit more comprehensive list of walkons.

Kingsley Andersen (Blanchardville, WI)
David Braun (Madison, WI)
Eric Bickerstaff (Milwaukee, WI)
Bret Burlingame (Fort Atkinson)
Jason Ciotti (Sun Prairie, WI)
Jason Clemens (Lodi, WI)
Nick Cochart (Southern Door, WI)
Mark Downing (Middleton, WI)
Josh Hunt (Thiensville, WI)
Phil Koch (San Jose, CA)
Brad Koranda (Sun Prairie, WI)
Russ Kuhns (Bellevue, OH)
Don Laine (Ozaukee, WI)
Ryan Marks (Wisconsin Rapids, WI)
Corey Martin (Lake Tahoe, CA)
Matt Mialik (Middleton, WI)
Nick Mueller (Plymouth, WI)
Mark Neuser (Milwaukee, WI)
Brad Newton (Baldwin, WI)
Angelo Paganafanador (Pine Hill, NJ)
Jason Shonkwiler (Pewaukee, WI)
Ryan Simmons (Verona, WI)
Jason Schick (Sturgeon Bay, WI)
Matt Unertl (Sussex, WI)
Chris Wagner (Milton, WI)
Jamaal Wilson (Weston, FL)

Go check out the site for the additional info.

August 11, 1999

CNNSI has a write up on the Badgers, ranked #11 in their pre-season poll.

August 3, 1999

Here are most of Barry Alvarez’s comments from the Big Ten Press Conference yesterday.

Offensive overview:

On Chris McIntosh:

"..could be one of the better tackles in the country. He will be starting his fourth season."

Casey Rabach:

"Is moving in that direction where he could be one of the better centers in our league."

Chad Kuhns:

"Has a chance to be a better blocker (than Cecil Martin), has very good hands, and should be outstanding at fullback."


"The question on offense will be the quarterback position. We’ll have a new starter at that position. We’ve got Scott Kavanagh who’s been with his. This will be his fourth season....has played sparingly. And Brooks Bollinger, who’s a very talented redshirt freshman. Both of them have their strengths. Neither separated themselves during spring practice. Right now I would say they will both be on the same line and we will start fall camp probably planning on playing both of them to start the season and see if someone separates themselves and I’m not really against playing them both throughout the year."

Defensive Overview


"We were very good last year, probably the best defense we’ve had since I’ve been here and I expect us to be better this year. We have more depth in the defensive line."


"I think we have one of the up and coming starts in Wendell Bryant. If you saw the Rose Bowl game, I thought he played better than anyone on our defense, making a number of outstanding plays."


"Secondary has been a problem. I stood in front of you a year ago saying that our question mark were our corners. We had two redshirt freshmen corners that stepped up and performed extremely well. Jamar Fletcher especially, led the nation in interceptions, had 3 for touchdowns, and broke open two big games....with interceptions for touchdowns. I anticipate that they’ll improve."


"Jason Doering at free safety is probably as good a free safety as I’ve been around...very physical...tough kid...sure tackler. He’ll also be one of our captains."


"Nick Davis returns as a return man. I thought he had a tremendous impact on our football team as a true freshman. We were 11th in the conference two years ago in our punt returns. We went into the top five nationally because of Nick Davis. We’re excited about what he brings to the table."

Impact of Dayne return:

"I think that sent a strong message that Ron trusted the people in our program. Obviously, that is the best recruit we’ve signed...when you get someone of his caliber that makes the decision to come back instead of taking the money and going to the NFL. I just think it sends a message about the trust he has with us and our program and also, Ron made the decision. He had some things he wanted to accomplish and I think it was the right decision for him personally."

On the recruitment of the Wake Forest 8th grader:

"It’s hard to keep those verbal committments when they’re 18 years old. I don’t know how you keep that for the next four years. But...I don’t know. If you can identify somebody and sometimes you CAN identify a very young player. I don’t think there’s anybody who’s going to quit recruiting that young man when he’s a senior in high school or junior in high school. But sometimes I think we get a little ridiculous."

On not being in the pre-season top 3 in the Big Ten:

"I really don’t put much stock in that. I don’t think we were probably in the top three last year either. This is a very difficult league and I think the thing that you have here is we have a number of teams that can win this league and it doesn’t make any difference who’s pre-season ranked. You could be a very good team in this league and be fifth. How this league breaks down, you need some luck, you need some people to stay healthy, you need a couple bounces, your schedule has to be right, all those things are important. So I really don’t pay a lot of attention to those things. It’s how you play on Saturdays. There is going to be some very very stiff competition in the league this year."

Marcus Carpenter:

"Listed as #2 FB....has a chance to take some snaps at fullback and also on special teams."

Nick Davis and the return game:

"We weren’t satisfied with that position and we were hoping that an incoming freshman would be able to handle it. It’s a very tough job for a freshman to deal with. There is a lot of pressure on him. We had a few candidates. (Then the BB in the dark story) He didn’t lose a punt all year. Last year on changes of possession we averaged 15 yards better than our opponent and that’s all special teams and that’s the return game and that’s the cover game and he had an awful lot to do with that. But he’s a threat every time he gets his hands on the ball. He’s one of these guys that just loves to play the game. He’s mature football wise beyond his age."


"I’m not crazy about our schedule this year. We don’t have an open date. We play eleven straight weeks. As physical as our league is, you’re going to get banged up. You’re going to have some injuries. You like to have some place along the line where you can have a week to heal up. So I don’t particularly like that. Playing Michigan and Ohio State back to back is a very difficult task for the same reason. Naturally they have some outstanding players year in and year out...but that’s the way the schedule plays out and I don’t complain about it. That’s the way it is and we’re going to play it. I just would like an open date to fall in there someplace."

Big Ten 5-0 in bowl:

"I remember back in the 80’s all we heard in this league was lack of speed and style and you couldn’t compete with the west coast. I don’t hear much of that anymore. Big Ten teams have been successful going out to the Rose Bowl and winning Rose Bowls. I had Jim Delaney talk to our team a couple of days before the game and one of the things he mentioned was teams aren’t just satisfied by getting there now. Teams go out there to win the game. It tells you what our league is all about when you go 5-0 and you win 4 January 1st game. I believe that is unprecedented and against good competition and against teams that were supposedly to be in the national championship game and against two teams in UCLA and Kansas State that were within seconds of the national championship games, yet two Big Ten teams were able to beat them. I think that tells you a little bit about our league."

Dayne campaign for Heisman/attention on him:

"We’re taking the approach with the Heisman with our sports information department and our football staff that you get enough exposure now. I think we’ll probably be on TV I would guess probably all of our games, somewhere it will be broadcast. Ron’s going to get enough exposure. I don’t think you need a campaign. We’ll keep track of where he is and we’ll send something out as far as where he is as far as the record is concerned, the rushing record. But I just think the way the media is today and the coverage today, you win that award on the field. You don’t win it through a mail campaign. If you know Ron, he’s always put the team first. And he’ll tell you that he’d like to set that rushing record and the Heisman trophy...that’s great. But his first goal is to win football games. Everyone on the football team understands that."

Chad Kuhns:

"Chad Kuhns had a chance to play last year as a redshirt freshman. Chad’s a classic fullback. He’s about 6-1 and about 240 pounds, outstanding speed, very physical player and a good ballrunner. Now we don’t give the fullback the ball very often but we found this spring that he carries it very well. He’s a good runner and he catches it very well. I think we’ll see improvement."

July 14, 1999

The Sporting News website is featuring a preview of the Badgers. They are ranked #9 in their pre-season poll.

July 9, 1999

Over the last week or so, RecruitingNow has been running a brief preview of the top football teams in the country. On Tuesday, they featured the Badgers. The article doesn't tell you much that you probably already don't know and contains some factual errors regarding depth and the players themselves, but here it is anyway:

Author: Mark Kelly

12. Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Head Coach Barry Alvarez has what many observers would call a “vanilla” football program. There is nothing flashy going on in Madison. All that goes into those red and white uniforms is heart, desire and tenacity. The players don’t run the fastest, but they just might run the hardest. They ran hard all over UCLA in the Rose Bowl and gained a ton of respect. With all-world tailback Ron Dayne and eight defensive starters returning, the Badgers will try to win the Big Ten for the second straight year.


The biggest question mark on offense is at quarterback. Senior Scott Kavanaugh has inherited the position and didn’t do anything in the spring to lose it. The problem for Alvarez will be trying to explain why he doesn’t give some reps to the most talented signal caller on the roster, redshirt freshman Brooks Bollinger. Bollinger is a high school legend in Wisconsin and the fans want to see him. He’s a superior athlete, who should get a chance no matter what Kavanaugh does. The fact is the real bulk of the offense won’t be handled by the quarterback in Madison.

Ron Dayne needs just a little over 1,700 yards to jump recent NCAA rushing record breaker Ricky Williams. He has four of five starting offensive linemen back to help him do it. He has a coach who is willing to give him 30 carries per game. Dayne sat out the spring to insure his health and in his absence, and no other backs threatened to take his starting job. Sophomore Carlos Daniels did some nice things, but he goes down too easy for the Wisconsin style of play. Incoming freshmen Wendell Davidson and Nana Gillett-Spio are possible backups to Dayne.

Davidson may also get a look at fullback if sophomore Chad Kuhns struggles. Fullback depth is a concern, especially for a team that plans to run the ball so much.

The offensive line loses mammoth tackle Aaron Gibson, but everyone else is back. The guards are juniors Dave Costa and Bill Ferrario. The center is again, junior Casey Rabach and the new tackle joining senior Chris McIntosh will be sophomore Brian Lamont who won the job in the spring. This is always a deep position at Wisconsin and other “bigguns” who can expect to see action are Ben Johnson, Joe Gribowski, Josh Jakubowski and Rob Roell. This line takes a backseat to no one in the conference. Dayne will again flourish, running behind it, and possibly enter the record books.

The tight end is basically a glorified tackle for the Badgers and junior Dague Retzlaff and his 280 pounds should do just fine serving in that capacity.

The wideouts are almost forgotten in Madison, but there is some legit talent at the position in 1999. Junior Chris Chambers and senior Ahmad Merritt provide as much punch as any starting tandem in the conference. Depth is not great here, but does it have to be? If the guys can block, they will be praised by coaches. Nick Davis, Conroy White and Demetrius Brown are the top reserves at the position.


The Badger defense ranked in the nation’s top ten in four defensive categories last season. They are tough and stingy and they have a few young studs who will contend for all-America honors.

Defensive end Tom Burke is gone and his 22 sacks will be missed. Taking his place will be junior Ross Kolodziej, but he will have to fight off senior Donny Eicher and sophomore Jake Sprague. The other end spot is held by junior John Favret who will be a three-year starter. Favret is one of the emotional leaders on the defense.

The tackle spot is where it gets interesting. Ask UCLA’s offensive line how they felt getting whipped by true freshman Wendell Bryant all afternoon last January. Bryant is a playmaker and if he comes back from an off-season knee surgery, he will be the best young defender in the Big Ten. Joining Bryant is junior Eric Mahlik. Mahlik can expect to split time with the experienced senior Chris Janek. Other guys rotating inside will be George Pratt, Eric Waisanen and Aaron Haberman. Haberman played the spring at end, but can easily move inside. This is a solid group up front.

All three starting linebackers return and they are led by senior captain Donnel Thompson and 1999’s leading tackler, senior Chris Ghidorzi. The third starter, junior Roger Knight, is recovering from a broken arm and if he is not back to 100% in August, sophomore Dan Lisowski will get the nod. Other linebackers to watch for are Donnel Thompson’s younger brother Bryson, Nick Griesen and Ben Herbert.

Three starters are back in the secondary and it is one of the Big Ten’s finest. Sophomore cornerback Jamar Fletcher will contend for all-American accolades. Some feel he is every bit the talent that Troy Vincent once was in Madison. The other guys back are corner Mike Echols and safety Jason Doering. Senior Bobby Myers will man the other safety spot. Depth will come from safeties Devery Hughes and Tim Rosga and corners Onjai Bryant and Donte King. Incoming freshman Stephen Watson could also figure in the mix. The secondary is top notch and few teams will challenge Fletcher. He is one of the more exciting young players in America.

Special Teams

Junior punter Kevin Stemke is back and is one of the nation’s best. The new kicker will be senior Vitaly Pisetsky.

Schedule and Outlook

Once again, the BCS folks will penalize Wisconsin for this cream puff, out of conference schedule. Let’s see, we have Murray State, Ball State, and Cincinnati. Umm, what fun watching Ron Dayne break the record in just three contests!

In conference, the Badgers must host Michigan and visit Ohio State and Purdue. They get a break by avoiding Penn State. If a quarterback emerges who can do anything to give the Badgers a vertical game in the three important conference matchups, the Badgers could shock the nation and go to the Sugar Bowl or at least return to the Rose Bowl.

They have few weaknesses and a star in Dayne. This team is a national championship sleeper.

June 14, 1999

News is hard to come by this time of year, but today I thought I would take a very early look ahead at the upcoming football season, namely, how does the "computer" see the Badger season at this early stage?

Here are the raw numbers. % refers to the percent chance that the Badgers have of winning. +/- refers to the spread. Score obviously refers to the score of the game (Badger score first).

Opponent % +/- Score
Murray State NA NA NA
Ball State 89 + 23 33-10
Cincinnati 76 + 17 35-18
Michigan 46 -2 20-22
Ohio State 25 -13 16-29
Minnesota 71 + 11 27-16
Indiana 83 + 20 33-13
Michigan State 68 + 10 28-18
Northwestern 71 + 12 28-16
Purdue 51 + 1 24-23
Iowa 76 + 14 28-14

REACTIONS: 9-2 is about what most people expect. (Note: There is no prediction for Murray State since they are D1-AA). The Michigan and Purdue games will be the toss up games, with the computer giving one to Wisconsin. I was surprised to see the point total for the Purdue game, which most people feel will be a bit more offensively emphasized. I was also surprised to see the Indiana game as so much of a landslide.

One other thing I did was check out the numbers from last year as far as what WOULD have happened if Wisconsin had in fact played OSU. Well, sorry to say that the Buckeyes would have been the projected winners regardless of where the game was played. They would have been expected to beat Wisconsin 26-19 if the game was in Columbus, and 23-22 if played in Madison. It would have been close, but no cigar for the Badgers.

Also, what if Wisconsin had played Michigan last year in Madison instead of Ann Arbor......26-16 Wisconsin.

For the record, the Howell computer correctly predicted the outcome of 76.4% of all college football games last season, so while it is not a perfect indicator, it did pretty well.

June 12, 1999

As most of you already know, both the Athlon and the Lindy's College Football Annuals have hit the shelves. Both had relatively similar predictions for the Badgers (around 3rd in the B10, 13th or so overall, Dayne All-American, etc.) and as most of these have been touched upon on the BadgerBoard, I am not going to give a synopsis this year. However, I did want to list Lindy's positional rankings as I always find these fairly interesting.

Ohio St. 6 2 5 4 1 3 3 5
Michigan 2 4 6 2 3 2 2 6
Penn St. 5 3 2 3 2 1 1 1
Wisconsin 10 1 9 1 5 5 4 3
Michigan St. 3 8 1 11 6 4 5 2
Purdue 1 7 3 5 8 6 8 9
Northwestern 9 11 11 8 10 11 11 10
Iowa 8 6 8 9 11 8 10 7
Indiana 4 9 4 7 4 10 6 4
Minnesota 7 5 7 6 7 7 7 11
Illinois 11 10 10 10 9 9 9 8


At quarterback, I don't have a problem with Lindy's listing Wisconsin at 10th, though I would be pretty disappointed if Bollinagh (or is it Kavinger?) was worse than Billy Cockerham (7th??!!). I could also see the Wisconsin QB playing better than Hoffman/Krienbrink/Kustok at NW (better supporting cast) or Reiners at Iowa (better supporing cast + injury concerns).

At RB, no complaints, though I think it important that Kuhns is consistent and the backups are productive (both at TB and FB).

9th for WR seems about right. Chambers is All-Conference caliber though will be a longshot due to the lack of numbers, but the other spot remains a huge huge concern. The Big Ten has some decent depth at this position.

At OL, #1 looks good, though I might argue Penn State if Johnson/Lamont don't play as well as hoped for. (I think PSU should have been rated above Michigan).

I was a bit disappointed with the DL ranking (#5) although this is probably due to a lack of a returning star. Ogunleye is terrific for IU, but overall, I would take Wisconsin's at the #4 spot. If Bryant and Kolodziej adapt to their new roles as well as I think they will, move them up another slot.

The #5 ranking for the LB's seems about right, and perhaps even a bit high. They look to be solid (and fit the complexion of the defense very well) but unspectacular. The frontline talent at PSU, UM, OSU, and MSU all has much more playmaking ability. Still, you have to like the veteran presence at the heart of the defense.

#4 for the secondary also is a spot of potential improvement, just as the DL. If all 4 stay healthy, I don't think you will find a better pair or corners (not even at PSU). Doering is an All-League guy and Myers has shown a real nose for the ball (as well as better discipline last year). I would put this group ahead of the Buckeye group (rated there based on Buck history as opposed to actual performance).

#3 for the special teams is about right. If Pisetsky is solid, move them up. If he has trouble, move them down say a spot or so. I think Davis is going to have to show more as a KOR to go along with his PR. Stemke is of course the best in the league.

May 23, 1999

Here is how the Badgers shape up according to

College Football News: First, in the Pre-Season All-American section, Ron Dayne was rated as the #3 RB. Chris McIntosh was rated as the #3 OL. Jamar Fletcher was rated the #3 cornerback. And Kevin Stemke was rated as the #3 punter. (Hmmmmm...must be something about the number 3).

If you remove the names and simply look at positions, I think you can argue that the Badgers are stoked with quality performers at among the most important positions on the field (other than QB). Having an elite level RB, left tackle, and cover corner is an exceptionally strong base, and part of the reason I am not worried about the losses of Burke and Gibson.

Wisconsin was ranked as the 14th best team entering the season, with a projected record of 8-3.

In the All-Time teams section (which ranked teams based on their top 25 finishes), Wisconsin was ranked as the 33rd best team/program of all-time. They rank 24th in the 90's.

Here is how they summarized the Badger program as a whole:

Coaching staff – Head coach Barry Alvarez has turned one of the worst programs in the country to a near-powerhouse. While his name always comes up for potential pro head coaching jobs, the rumor is he believes he’s a college coach and will stay with what he knows. Alvarez has been at UW for nine seasons but his staff has lost their last two offensive coordinators to bigger positions. Unless the Notre Dame or Nebraska job opens up any time soon, which they probably won’t, Alvarez should be the coach at Wisconsin for a long time. There’s a perception that Alvarez and company produces winning teams with smoke and mirrors. In reality, they get a few big-time players and totally revolve what they do around them. The key is that Alvarez sells his players on the team concept.

Players Sent to the NFL in the last five years – Foutrteen.

Win/Loss Percentage over the last five years – .664 (39-13-3)

Average Attendance over the last three years – 77,752

Number of Television and Bowl Appearances over the last three years – Bowl appearances – 3 including a Rose Bowl win. Television network appearances – 25.

Football Tidbits – Wisconsin has turned into a football mad school with one of the most loyal fan bases in college football. At a school that has a big-time hockey team and mid-level basketball program football takes precedence even though they only have $5.1 million devoted to the football team.

Stadium and Facilities – Camp Randall is a sold out for just about every game and is known for being of the big home field advantages in college football. They’re taking out the artificial turf and putting in a new grass field (BADGERMANIAC: of course this final point is incorrect).

Intangibles – Wisconsin is very good academic school and has a picturesque campus. It’s not just a football factory school. Madison is only an hour from Milwaukee and 150 miles from Chicago. The gameday atmosphere is one of the most unique in the country where each game is treated like a big party. While there’s a great emphasis placed on football, there isn’t the fan-crazed pressure of some other Big Ten schools like Ohio State and Penn State.

OUR SUMMARY: Even though they won the 1999 Rose Bowl, Wisconsin is still a notch below Ohio State and Michigan in terms of respect and talent. Even so, this may be one of the premier schools in the country for offensive linemen and running backs. On the flip-side, at the moment, it may be one of the worst places to go for quarterbacks and wide receivers who want to get big-time stats.

April 6, 1999

For those that did not receive the 1999 Spring Prospectus in the mail, here are a few tidbits to whet your appetite.

Barry Alvarez needs 6 more wins to become the winningest coach in Badger history. It would be phenomenal if it came in game 6 at Minnesota, but with early games against OSU and UM, it is probable the milestone will occur at home against either Indiana or MSU.

Six of Alvarez' former assistants are now head coaches, college coordinators, or NFL assistants (McCarney, Norvell, Callahan, Winters, Jette, and Childress).

Barry Alvarez and Woody Hayes are the only Big Ten coaches in history to win two Rose Bowls in a six-year period.

For those that did not receive the 1999 Spring Prospectus in the mail, here are a few tidbits to whet your appetite.

Ron Dayne needs to average 156 YPG to break Ricky Williams' NCAA rushing record. His career average is currently 142.6 per game which is 8th best in NCAA history. He also needs only 499 yards to break Archie Griffin's Big Ten record.

He needs 14 TDs to break Anthony Thompson's Big Ten mark for rushing TDs in a career.

He is trying to become the first runner in league history to lead the league in rushing three different times.

49% of Ron Dayne's yards have come after contact in his career.

Dayne averages 168.5 yards per game in Badger victories and only 87.8 yards per game in losses.

They are 19-4 when he gains 100 yards.

Although Dayne has 9 200 yard games in his career, the NCAA does not count bowl games, so his offical total stands at 7. Ricky Williams and Marcus Allen hold the NCAA record with 11.

Which college teams have won 3 or more January games since 1994? Florida State, Nebraska, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, Penn State.....and Wisconsin. Pretty heady company.

Chris Chambers was the only Big Ten player to average over 20 yards per reception last season. His ratio of TDs to catches ranked third nationally.

John Favret has 22 tackles for losses in his career. After two seasons, Tom Burke had 4 and Tarek Saleh had 13.

Of Jamar Fletcher's 7 interceptions, 3 of course were returned for TDs while 2 others came in the endzone, stopping drives deep in Wisconsin territory. He also broke up 12 passes, one off the Wisconsin record set by Troy Vincent.

Of Kevin Stemke's 72 punts, nearly one fourth were downed inside the 20. Of his 126 punts for his career, 29 have been for 50 or more yards.

In case you missed it (which I had), these Badgers were named Academic All-Big Ten:

Jason Eck
Chris Ghidorzi
Roger Knight
Dan Lisowski
Sam Mueller
Rob Roell
Mark Tauscher

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