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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

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In Sports Commentary

The Wisconsin Badgers hope to play for a national title this year. (PHOTO: Nikonmadness)

Title hopes for the Wisconsin Badgers depend on new QB


University of Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema took to Twitter Sunday to officially settle a topic that had about as much doubt surrounding it as whether the Earth was still round – that junior quarterback Danny O'Brien would be his starter.

"Had so many questions about our QB situation that want everyone to know we are going to start Danny O'Brien in our opener against UNI," Bielema said in his tweet, referencing the season opener against the University of Northern Iowa.

Regardless of how outsiders have viewed O'Brien's off-season work, he was recruited to Madison for a reason: a national championship.

Of course he was going to start.

And he should.

O'Brien will don the red an white on Sept. 1 as a veteran quarterback in his third year starting in a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) conference.

Running back Montee Ball might be the face of the Badgers and a Heisman Trophy Candidate, but O'Brien will be the one that determines if the Badgers will be playing in Florida for a national title.

Bielema knew 2012 would be his program's best shot at a title in recent years as soon as Ohio State was banned from bowl games last December.

Then, Penn State fell apart.

That left only Michigan and Michigan State as Wisconsin's only obstacles in the way of an undefeated season, a Big 10 championship game victory and a berth in the BCS title game.

But he had to have a quarterback.

There should be no concern over a rebuilt offensive line-the Badgers turn out first rounders like they were just parts on an assembly line.

Whatever defensive misgivings anyone has are ameliorated by Ball, a workhorse who will tilt the time of possession to the Badgers' side nearly every game.

But against the Wolverines, Spartans an the inevitable surprise upset bid, there will come a time when a veteran QB is needed to make a play, to win the game.

It's why Bielema went after O'Brien.

In college, the immediate-impact transfer market is limited to only those players looking for a graduate program not already offered by their current school.

It's not like he could've poached another teams back up – he needed someone who could play and produce this year, to take advantage of this window.

It's hard to imagine the Badgers could've done any better, and recent history (Hello, Russell Wilson) Indicates they know what they're doing.

"Yes we develop QBs well thanks for asking," Bielema told a Twitter follower Sunday. "Last two are with the San Fran 49ers and Seattle Seahawks."

It was awful nice of Bielema to jump on today's social network of choice to inform the nation the decision he made several months ago was indeed official, but hat we all want to know is if he is right.

We'll find out soon enough.

Talkbacks

TosaJim | Aug. 20, 2012 at 11:36 a.m. (report)

If the offensive line plays great...so will the quarterback. Quarterbacks get way too much blame and credit.

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