The Daily Cardinal sports staff weighs in on Wisconsin's Week 1 matchup against Utah State:
1. Who will be the MVP for the Badgers in 2017?
Ethan Levy, sports editor: The Wisconsin 2017 MVP will be Alex Hornibrook. Hornibrook has always been accurate, and will continue to improve his consistency. He will lead this Badgers offense to new heights.
Lorin Cox, football beat writer: Jack Cichy was primed to be this team’s MVP before going down with a knee injury, and T.J. Edwards is going to step right up in his place to lead this defense and the whole team to plenty of success in 2017.
Jake Nisse, football beat writer: With the departures of Corey Clement, Dare Ogunbowale and Robert Wheelwright from the team, senior wide receiver Jazz Peavy is primed to become one of the offense’s centerpieces. He already posted over 1,000 all purpose yards last season, but expect him to take a step forward for the Badgers in 2018.
Ben Pickman, sports editor: Troy Fumagalli is a living testament that you don’t actually need ten fingers to catch a football. The nine-fingered tight end is on multiple preseason All-American lists and figures to be the key cog of UW’s offense. Expect production from the 6’5’’ tight end early and often.
2. What will Wisconsin's record be at the end of the regular season?
Levy: Wisconsin will finish the regular season with only one loss coming at home to Michigan. Final record: 11-1
Cox: This Wisconsin team lacks some of the star power of previous years, but this system is too firmly entrenched for the Badgers to slow down. Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines might get a loss out of them, but that's about it. 11-1.
Nisse: 10-2. The Badgers will drop a tricky game at Nebraska before getting outclassed by a superior Michigan team at home.
Pickman: While a road game in Lincoln and home games against Michigan and Northwestern will provide UW with tough tests, Wisconsin has both the talent and experience to run the table this season. And this clairvoyant prognosticator thinks that they will do just that: Final record 12-0.
3. What will be the final score of UW's game against Utah State
Levy: Despite having inexperienced running backs, the Badgers will still dominate the running game, and control the pace of the game. I don’t expect UW to have any trouble with Utah State. Final score: 34-7
Cox: Utah State is very clearly a caliber or two below the reigning Big Ten West Champions, but the Badgers still have plenty of new faces settling into new roles. The Aggies won't come anywhere near the upset, but Wisconsin could be a little rough around the edges. Wisconsin 27, Utah State 6.
Nisse: The Badgers were not the most potent offensive team last year, but proved difficult to beat because of the team’s stingy defense and fine offensive line play. That trend should continue here, with Wisconsin beating the Aggies 27-10.