These newcomers will have an immediate impact on Wisconsin football.
There might not have been a team that responded to the changing landscape of the Big Ten more than Wisconsin football. The last three years were very un-Wisconsin-like. As a result, former head coach Paul Chryst was fired early in the 2022 season. Athletic Director Chris McIntosh gave interim head coach Jim Leonhard the most extended job interview in Big Ten history.
Leonhard was not hired, but McIntosh brought Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell instead. The hire was more about Wisconsin’s ability to get Fickell than Leonhard’s failure. Wisconsin will not have the luxury of playing in the Big Ten West after 2023. Also, USC and UCLA join the conference.
Everything Wisconsin has done in the last 18 months or so signals to the entire Big Ten that they want to be players in the new college football landscape. The administration in Madison realizes that they have to spend big money to compete with Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State, along with the newcomers from SoCal.
The Badgers are upping the ante with who they recruit –though their class was small this cycle– from high school and the transfer portal. Wisconsin hiring Fickell instead of keeping Leonhard proves they want to raise their ceiling.
Here’s a closer look at some newcomers who will immediately impact Wisconsin this fall.