Wisconsin is favorite in the Big Ten

Switch to Stave at QB and a resurgent rushing attack makes Badgers faves

Updated: October 22, 2012, 12:15 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Joel StaveJohn Fisher/Cal Sport Media/AP ImagesJoel Stave has played well for Wisconsin after a rough start.

One of the rare football achievements in the Big Ten is playing in the Rose Bowl in three or more consecutive seasons. In the 66 seasons since the conference first started furnishing this postseason game with a competitor, this has happened only two times -- first with the Ohio State Buckeyes from 1973 to '76 and then with the Michigan Wolverines from 1977 to '79.

The Wisconsin Badgers entered this season with a shot at reaching that three-in-a-row goal. But a rough start that included three wins by a total of just 18 points over non-BCS conference caliber foes, a 10-7 loss to the Oregon State Beavers in Week 2, and a three-point loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big Ten opener made it seem like another conference title wasn't in the cards for the Badgers.

As frustrating as that beginning was, those early woes forced the team to make some changes, and those alterations have turned things around to the point that it is clear the Badgers are now the favorites to win the Big Ten.

The most notable of these changes was benching highly touted transfer quarterback Danny O'Brien and replacing him with freshman Joel Stave.


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