2006 Wisconsin Badgers football team

2006 Wisconsin Badgers Football Team

2006 Wisconsin Badgers football team

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The 2006 Wisconsin Badgers football team represented the University of Wisconsin–Madison during the 2006 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Led by first-year head coach Bret Bielema, the Badgers completed the season with a 12-1 record, including a 7-1 mark in the Big Ten Conference, good for a second-place tie with Michigan.

The season was one of the most successful in Badgers football history. The 11 regular-season wins and 12 overall wins were both single season records for the Badgers, and the season ended with a second straight victory in the Capital One Bowl, over Arkansas, 17-14. The Badgers, who were not ranked in the preseason and were expected to finish in the middle of the Big Ten, surprised many with their success and ended the season ranked #7 in the AP Poll and #5 in the Coaches' Poll.

Preseason

The Badgers were picked to finish in the middle of the Big Ten conference and were not ranked in the preseason for a number of reasons. Early defections to the National Football League by second-team All-Americans Brandon Williams and Brian Calhoun left the Badger offense with only three returning starters. Additionally, with the departure of Barry Alvarez – who had just completed his final season with 10 wins and a Capital One Bowl victory – the head coaching job was taken over by Bret Bielema, then the youngest head coach in Division I-A football.

Bright spots for the Badgers included returning All-American offensive tackle Joe Thomas, who was coming off...
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