Wisconsin Football: Five Reasons the Badgers Have the Best Defense in the Country

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Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda talks to the Wisconsin defense during a timeout in Wisconsin’s 58-0 win over Miami (OH). Jim Oxley photo

Favorable Schedule

The one knock on Wisconsin’s defense is the fact that the Badgers have not played the country’s most prolific offenses. Playing in the Big Ten West Division, Wisconsin did not see Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State in the regular season for the second consecutive year.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

Let’s take a look at the Badgers’ schedule in 2015. Wisconsin avoided four of the five highest-scoring teams in conference play so far in the season, and the Badgers have played or will play the bottom six scorers in Big Ten action.

While this is not Wisconsin’s fault, this would be the one blemish on the Badgers’ defense if there is one. Wisconsin scheduled a national powerhouse with Alabama followed by three cupcake nonconference games, which is fine. One big out-of-conference game is enough for a Power 5 team, but is fair to wonder if the Badgers would still have the No. 1 defense if they had some of the better Big Ten offenses on the schedule.

The best offense in terms of points per game on Wisconsin’s slate is Alabama, who is ranked No. 43 in scoring offense. The Crimson Tide hung 35 points on the Badgers with 502 total yards in the season opener at AT&T Stadium in Texas.

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Wisconsin has one of the elite defenses in college football, but the soft schedule definitely makes it easier. We saw this last season when the Badgers statistically had one of the best defenses in the country before Ohio State dropped 59 on them in the conference title game. Hopefully the Badgers can return to the Big Ten Championship for another chance to prove that this defense is legitimate and not the result of another favorable schedule.