I won't be in on Friday, so that means I have to make my Bold Badger Predictions today!
Week 1--vs Northern Iowa. I'm trying not to get too worried about this one. But Montee Ball (how did we all of a sudden find out we've been saying his name wrong--Montay, noth Montee--Ball for his first three years in Madison? Did he never hear the the PA Announcer: Monnnnteeeeeee Balllllllllllllllll!!!) is coming off a concussion in the campus fight, and the Badgers are starting a new quarterback (again) and there are some new guys on the offensive line. But the superior size and talent level should prevail in the second half and the Badgers win over the Panthers 48-17.
Week 2--at Oregon State. This is a rare road, non-conference game against a team from a power conference for Bucky. But the Beavers aren't particularly good--especially against the run--and the Badgers pound out a 38-23 win.
Week 3--vs Utah State. Yes, Utah State is a Football Bowl Subdivision team--but the Aggies have no chance in Camp Randall and get rolled 51-10.
Week 4--vs UTEP. The Miners open their season this week against Oklahoma. In their preview of the game, Fox Sports Network is saying the "Powerful Sooners take on a 'spirited' UTEP on the road". "Spirited" being a "nice" word for "they suck". Badgers roll in this one 48-14.
Week 5--at Nebraska. Remember the total BEATDOWN the Badgers delivered to the Cornhuskers in Madison on national TV last year? I'm sure the 'Shuckers are thinking revenge--but they still don't have a quarterback that can throw the ball--and their defense in the secondary still stinks. Wisconsin wins again 38-28.
Week 6--vs Illinois. The Illini aren't as bad as they've been the last few seasons--but they still aren't good enough to beat the Badgers. 37-27, Big Red.
Week 7--at Purdue. The Boilers are bad again this year. Wisconsin 45-20.
Week 8--vs Minnesota. There is no team that Bret Bielema takes greater pleasure in not just beating--but in running up the score than the Golden Gophers. He goes for 2 everytime this year and Bucky keeps Paul Bunyon's axe for a NINTH CONSECUTIVE SEASON (Man, does it feel GREAT to say that!!)--88-to ZERO.
Week 9--vs Michigan State. For some reason, Michigan State just has the Badgers number. And take away the roughing the punter penalty in the Big Ten Championship Game last year--and Bucky would have been 0-2 against Sparty last year. Plus, this is usually the time Wisconsin gets into the Top Five in the rankings and immediately blows it. So I'll go 41-40 Michigan State in this one.
Week 10--at Indiana. Wisconsin has laid some real eggs in Bloomington over the years--and they will be coming off a disappointing home loss the week before--but I think the Badgers sleepwalk through a 27-16 win in this one.
Week 11--vs Ohio State. New Buckeyes' Head Coach Urben Meyer likes to think that he is a real genius--and that he'll be able to bring in all of his lunkhead SEC-type guys and dominate the Big Ten. But I foresee his fourth quarter fake-field goal, triple reverse throwback to the kicker play getting picked off and returned for six and the Badgers pulling out a 48-41 victory at the Camp.
Week 12--at Penn State. Honestly, I will feel no sympathy for the Nittany Lions as they get pounded by everybody but Minnesota this year. In fact, I will enjoy Bret Bielema trying to boost Montee Ball's Heisman candidacy by getting him 300-yards rushing in a 56-9 drubbing in Not-So-Happy Valley.
With a 7-1 conference record, the Badgers will advance out of the Lame Name Division to the Big Ten Championship Game for a second year in a row to face the Other Lame Name Division winners--Michigan. The Badgers struggle against the spread offense, they struggle against running quarterbacks, and they usually struggle against Michigan. I've got a bad feeling about this, as Denard Robinson out-performs Montee Ball in a battle of Heisman candidates and leads Michigan to a wild 68-60 win over the Badgers in triple overtime.
Missing out on a third consecutive Rose Bowl, the Badgers will still land in the BCS--getting a bid to play LSU in the Orange Bowl. In an ugly, defensive battle, Bucky prevails on five field goals--15-12.
So, you can book it--a 12-2 record and a first-ever Orange Bowl win for the Badgers. Still better than the Don Morton Era. ON WISCONSIN!!