This is part two of my Wisconsin football schedule breakdown and predictions. In part one, I predicted the Badgers going 3-1 with a loss to Michigan. Let’s see what part two brings!
Game 5- At Northwestern (November 21)
Let’s be honest here. It is never fun going to Ryan Field on the schedule and playing Northwestern. It’s always cloudy and will make you want to pull your hair out of your head for three hours. Northwestern wants this game to be a defensive battle and always plays hard for coach Pat Fitzgerald. The lower the score, the advantage leans towards the Wildcats.
I don’t expect this to be a shootout, but Wisconsin is a much better and more talented team than Northwestern. If Wisconisn comes off a loss to Michigan the week before as I predicted in part one, Wisconsin will come in with a chip on its shoulder. Wisconsin moves to 4-1 with a win over Northwestern 31-13.
Game 6- Minnesota (November 28)
The battle for Paul Bunyan’s Ax will be one to watch on the schedule. Wisconsin demolished Minnesota last season in Minneapolis after the Golden Gophers came into Madison the year before and took the ax for the first time in 14 years. Minnesota plays tough for coach P.J. Fleck and will no doubt be hunting an upset in Madison.
Tanner Morgan and Rashod Bateman are one of the best quarterback-wide receiver duos in the Big Ten and the county. They have the potential to be a problem in this game if they connect early and often. Add in running back Mohamed Ibrahim and it’s a solid offense for the Gophers.
However, Wisconsin put a lot of pressure on Morgan last year and led to a few turnovers that changed the momentum of the game. Minnesota did lose some key defenders including Antoine Winfield Jr, Kamal Martin, and Carter Coughlin. I expect Wisconsin to move the ball against the Minnesota defense and retain Paul Bunyan’s Ax 31-21.
Game 7- Indiana (December 5)
This is a game on the schedule Wisconsin will not want to overlook. The Badgers go to Iowa the week after and I believe there will be Big Ten West title implications on the line. Indiana has shown remarkable improvements under coach Tom Allen and will look for a big upset in Madison.
Wisconsin needs to be careful, but I expect the Badgers to win this crossover game and head to Iowa for the season finale 6-1. the Badgers win this one 35-21.
Game 8- At Iowa (December 12)
I believe there will be Big Ten West title implications for this game. Wisconsin has enjoyed recent success at Kinnick Stadium over the last few years. Iowa will also have a first starter under center as well. However, I expect this game to be low scoring with not many possessions. One turnover could decide the outcome.
With that being said, I don’t see Wisconsin losing this game. If this game is a defensive game, I will take the Wisconsin defense any day of the week. Iowa will not make this easy, but I see Wisconsin winning 24-17 and winning the Big Ten west title and playing in Indianapolis the following week.
Game 9- Big Ten Championship (December 19)
Let’s make this simple. Wisconsin will either be playing Penn State or Ohio Sate in the championship game. I believe Wisconisn plays Ohio State. Wisconsin has been knocking on the door of Ohio State the last few years, including the last two times they have matched up in the championship game.
Wisconsin will play Ohio State tough. That part should not surprise any one. I believe Wisconsin makes this a four quarter game. However, Ohio State is fantastic on both sides of the ball and I see the Buckeyes edging out Wisconsin 30-27. Wisconsin ends the regular season 7-2.