As we inch toward the beginning of the Kalen DeBoer era in Tuscaloosa, we preview Alabama Football's opponents for the 2024-2025 regular season.

Last Meeting: September 5, 2015

Alabama - 35

Wisconsin - 17

Alabama v Wisconsin
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Last Season

In the first season under head coach Luke Fickell, the Badgers went 7-6 with a 35-31 loss in the ReliaQuest Bowl to the LSU Tigers.

Wisconsin had an up-and-down season in 2023, starting off the 2023 campaign 4-1 before dropping four of their next five games. The Badgers would win their last two regular season games against Nebraska and Minnesota to obtain bowl eligibility and clinch a winning record.

The Badgers lost two players to the 2024 NFL draft: center Tannor Bortolini to the Indianapolis Colts and running back Braelon Allen to the New York Jets. In addition to Bortolini and Allebn, four Badgers earned UDFA contracts with NFL teams. LS Peter Bowden signed with the Packers, ILB Maema Njongmeta inked a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals, TE Hayden Rucci joined the Dolphins, and most notably, QB Tanner Mordecai signed with the San Fransisco 49ers.

Wisconsin v Minnesota
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Wisconsin Offense

Last season's leaders:

Passing: Tanner Mordecai - 2065 yards, 9 TD, 4 INT

Rushing: Braelon Allen - 984 yards, 12 TD

Receiving: Will Pauling - 837 yards, 6 TD

In 2023, the Badgers' offense was fairly balanced, running the ball 49.2% of the time while passing the other 50.8%.

With Wisconsin's leading passer, Tanner Mordecai, and rusher, Braelon Allen, departing for the NFL, head coach Luke Fickell and offensive coordinator Phil Longo must find a replacement for two of their most important offensive pieces.

To find Mordecai's replacement, the Badgers hit the portal and came out with former Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke. Van Dyke, a big-arm gunslinger, broke onto the scene with a stellar 2021 campaign before struggling with a mixture of poor performance and injuries. Fickell and Longo will look to recapture the 2021 version of Van Dyke. If Van Dyke isn't the answer for the Badgers, they may look to roll with redshirt sophomore Braedyn Locke or four-star freshman Mabrey Mettauer.

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Replacing Braelon Allen will be a tall task for the offensive staff in Madison, Wis. Allen rushed for 3494 yards and 35 touchdowns over his three years at Wisconsin, earning multiple All-Big Ten honors during his collegiate career.

Fifth-year senior Chez Mellusi is the projected leader in the Wisconsin backfield entering the fall. However, Mellusi has struggled with injuries throughout his four-year collegiate career with Wisconsin, including a season-ending fractured fibula last season against Purdue, cutting a potential career year short for the Florida native. The Badgers brought in Oklahoma transfer Tawee Walker into the backfield over the offseason; however, if Mellusi doesn't face a setback regarding his injury recovery, the fifth-year Wisconsin Badger is projected to be the starter at running back for the Badgers headed into 2024.

Luckily for Fickell and Longo, the Badgers are returning their No. 1 receiver from last season, Will Pauling, for the 2024 campaign. Pauling will star in the slot for the Badgers, while senior Bryson Green and junior Vinny Anthony will be the feature wideouts on the outside for Longo.

With a typical strong Wisconsin offensive line and weapons on the ground and in the air, the Badgers could be challenging for the Tide defense at Camp Randall.

Wisconsin Offense

Last season's leaders:

Tackles: Hunter Wohler, 120

Interceptions: Ricardo Hallman, 7

Sacks: Darryl Peterson, 4.5

The Badgers featured a top-20 defense in 2023; however, a large portion of that production departed from the program following the season, either to the NFL or the portal.

However, co-defensive coordinators Mike Tressel and Alex Grinch are returning all three statistical leaders listed above: Hunter Wohler, Ricardo Hallman, and Darryl Peterson. Wisconsin also brings in former William & Mary linebacker John Pius to reinforce the Badgers' defensive front seven.

A typical stout Big Ten defense, mixed with the potential for colder weather that Alabama isn't accustomed to in September, could help give Wisconsin a boost against a Kalen DeBoer and Jalen Milore-led offense.

Alabama will take on Wisconsin at 11:00 a.m. CT on September 14, 2024. You can watch the game on ESPN or listen to Chris Stewart on the call for the game on Tide 100.9 FM, 1230 WTBC AM, or the free Tide 100.9 app. You can also listen to the game on 95.3 The Bear FM and the free 95.3 The Bear app.

For more Alabama Football, Basketball, and Baseball content from Simon Besnoy, follow him on X/Twitter at @SimonBesnoy and stay tuned to Tide1009.com for daily news.

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