The calendar is turning to the year 2019 and it it time to make some bold predictions for the Wisconsin sports teams. 2018 saw some surprise success in the Brewers and some inevitable disappointment in the Packers. Our college teams also saw some disappointment with the Badgers early loss in football to BYU knocking them out of playoff contention, Marquette seeing an early exit in the 2018 March Madness, and UW-Milwaukee not even making it into the the big dance. So without further ado here are your 2019 bold predictions:
Wisconsin Badgers (Football):
Graham Mertz comes in and makes an immediate impact for the Badgers gaining his first big win against Michigan on September 21st. Unfortunately he is still young and will falter against Ohio State when they play in Columbus October 26th and ultimately miss the playoffs.
Green Bay Packers:
After making many big changes and saying good bye to many familiar names such as Clay Matthews, the Packers will be coming into the season with an adjustment period. They will have a new coach who will have to be able to work with Rodgers. In the end Rodgers is still one of the best QBs in the league and the running game is looking encouraging. What the Packers need is a fresh start and that is just what they will get. They will make a splash in the free agent market and get Rodgers a wide receiver in Golden Tate. In the end they will break into a Wild Card spot and win 1 playoff game before being knocked out.
The Houser Bros and Howard will the lead the Golden Eagles into the Elite 8 in March. Free throws are a big part of college basketball and Marquette ranks 21st in all of Division 1 in free throw percentage. They have an established scorer who they can rely on in Markus Howard who will have a strong finish and be taken as an early 2nd round pick or maybe even a late 1st round pick in the NBA draft.
Wisconsin Badgers (Basketball):
In case you haven’t found out by now, Ethan Happ is really good. He has the ability to take over games. The problem is that in March teams will focus on him leaving it up to Divison, Trice and other role players to play good basketball. The Badgers are tied for 14th in fewest fouls, 26th in scoring defense, and 4th in fewest turnovers in all of Division 1 basketball. They, like Marquette, will make it to the Elite 8. This season will see 2 Wisconsin state teams in the Elite 8 for the first time ever.
The Panthers will make it to the Horizon League championship game before just falling short of advancing to the big dance. At the moment they rank 7th in all of Division 1 basketball in free throw percentage. If they can get an early lead they can have a decent chance to win. Pat Baldwin will stay with the team and his son, Pat Baldwin Jr., who is a top recruit out of Hamilton Sussex High School will shock everyone by playing for his dad at UWM. He will put Milwaukee back on the map and lead the Panthers to their best season since 2004.
Giannis is an animal and everyone knows it. After a stellar start to the season and opening up the Fiserv Forum is a big way they Bucks will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2000-2001 season. They will however not make it in the Finals because they are a small market team that will not make the rigged NBA enough money.
They will be back in the playoffs right? Wrong. Barring some late off-season pitching additions that will make an impact, the Brewers have failed to improve the team in any way. In addition, Chacin will not be the same successful pitcher as his FIP and BABIP indicate major regression. Jimmy Nelson is a question mark coming off surgery, and you can’t reasonably expect Yelich to repeat his MVP season. That being said the core of Yelich, Cain, and Hader will continue to be strong and the back end of the bullpen will still be one of the best in baseball. The Brewers will be in the mix but just miss out. Remember how the Astros were a surprising playoff team in 2015 when they were considered “ahead of schedule”, missed the playoffs in 2016, and won it all in 2017? That is the track the Brewers are on. They will just miss in 2019, but watch out for 2020.