It's time again for Bold Predictions on the upcoming Wisconsin Badger Football season! For the first time since Barry Alvarez first stepped onto the Madison campus, there is real uncertainty about what kind of team the Badgers will field. Will Gary Andersen give us the Ground and Pound team that we have all come to know and love--and that has produced six Big Ten Championships? Or will Wisconsin become another of those teams running the Spread-Read-Option that is ruining football? And how will the switch to the 3-4 Defense work?
Week 1, vs. UMass--I had a dream a couple of weeks ago that the Badgers actually lost this game 10-5 and the folks at Camp Randall were not too happy. Hopefully my powers of premonition aren't that great and the Badgers get by the Minutemen Saturday 38-13.
Week 2 vs Tennessee Tech--I can't wait for the NCAA's ban on these matchups against Football Championship Subdivision games goes into effect. Wisconsin rolls 44-13 over the Golden Eagles (just like whipping up on Marquette in hoops!).
Week 3 at Arizona State--I like these late night non-conference games. Nothing like an extra ten hours of "prep time" to really get you in the mood for a game. Plus, Bucky always seems to be involved in exciting nailbiters out west--so I'll go with a UW win over the Sun Devils 23-21 on a last second field goal.
Week 4 vs Purdue--Alright, now the real games start. The Boilermakers always stink on the road, so I'll go Badgers 36-24.
Week 5 at Ohio State--I'm hoping by this point in the season that Coach Andersen realizes that he needs to be giving the ball to Melvin Gordon about 30-times a game and the Badgers grind out a tough road win over the Buckeyes--but that probably isn't going to happen. Urban Meyer has fun running it up on the three-time defending conference champs 48-17.
Week 6 vs Northwestern--Games with the Wildcats are always crazy shootouts, so I'll take the Badgers to bounce back from their first loss of the season with a 71-64 double overtime win--forcing the band to perform a rare 7th Quarter Show.
Week 7 at Illinois--The Illini will be the most improved team in the conference this year--and Wisconsin will be coming down from the crazy win the week before. This will be Bucky's "head scratcher" loss for this season 31-24.
Week 8 at Iowa--I have a theory that Bret Bielema threw games against his alma mater. Gary Andersen went to Utah and doesn't care about the Hawkeyes. Wisconsin wins 35-20.
Week 9 vs BYU--This game is personal for me. My brother-in-law went to BYU and has been talking junk ever since this game was announced. I'll save all my talking for after the 53-28 whipping Bucky is going to put on the Cougars.
Week 10 vs Indiana--Indiana will likely have one of the highest-scoring offenses in the country--to go along with one of the worst defenses. Bucky gets a workout doing his pushups in a 52-45 win over the Hoosiers.
Week 11 at Minnesota--One of the best things about the Bret Bielema era in Madison is that he never lost to the Golden Gophers--and he took great relish in running up the score in all of those victories. Paul Bunyon's Axe stays in Madison for the TENTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR 77-10 Wisconsin.
Week 12 vs Penn State--With nothing to play for except a better 2nd tier New Year's Day Bowl, the Badgers pull out a sluggish win over the Nittany Lions 23-20 to finish the regular season 10-2, 6-2 in the Big Ten and in second place in the Whatever We Are Calling It Until We Go To Logical Geography-Based Divisions Next Year Division.
January 1st vs Mississippi State in the Capital One Bowl--After three years in Pasadena, the Badgers wrap up this season in their second favorite spot--Orlando. Unfortunately, the results are about the same as several other trips to Disney--as the Bulldogs run all over Wisconsin 34-17.
All of this goes out the window of course if Andersen can't decide on a starting quarterback the entire season--and fails to realize that Melvin Gordon is a horse and needs to run the ball on just about every play. Hopefully it's fun again this year.