Robert Read, Pregame Editor

This is a safe prediction, but I think it will ultimately be the correct one.

Wisconsin has to overcome the loss of star running back Jonathan Taylor to the NFL, while also replacing three starters on the offensive line. But the Badgers have backs from last year’s team returning this season, as well as a potential breakout player in freshman Jalen Berger.

And filling holes on the offensive line shouldn’t be a huge deal. After all, it is Wisconsin.

The biggest reason I’m confident in picking the Badgers is because of what I saw last season from quarterback Jack Coan. In his first season as Wisconsin’s full-time starter, Coan threw for 18 touchdowns compared to only five picks.

Going into his senior season, the Sayville, New York, native could be the best Badger under center since Russell Wilson.

Losing Quintez Cephus, the team’s leading receiver from last season, is going to hurt, but there are still plenty of targets on offense, including a potential All-Big Ten tight end in Jake Ferguson.

Oh, and Wisconsin’s defense is going to be good again this season — really good.

Despite losing two of its star linebackers from a year ago, the squad is set to return 18 of its top 20 tacklers. There are going to be versatile pass rushers all over the field and a promising young secondary helping them out.

Wisconsin plays Minnesota at home this season, leaving its two toughest games at Michigan and at Iowa. I think a 7-1 regular season is very realistic for the Badgers, and that will be enough to be the West’s representative in the Big Ten Championship.