After playing a couple of tomato cans in the first two weeks, Wisconsin has a big test this Saturday as the Badgers travel to Arizona State (and are the undergogs, according to the Vegas lines).
I’m not sure how anyone can know too much about either team – in its only game to date the Sun Devils played an FCS team which has now been shutout twice – and maybe that’s why a lot of national pundits are picking Wisconsin to win.
With that introduction, here are this week’s predictions from around the web:
— Our own Jesse Temple via his Know the Foe series: Arizona State 27, Wisconsin 21
— FOXSportsArizona.com’s Tyler Lockman: Arizona State 31, Wisconsin 24. “I believe ASU is indeed better equipped to handle a strong run game than it was last season. I also believe ASU’s passing attack will give Wisconsin’s secondary, featuring three new starters, fits. Lastly, I think ASU’s defensive front will get to Joel Stave enough to keep him out of rhythm.”
— The Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo: Wisconsin 31, Arizona State 28. Russo labels it his “Upset Special.”
— For a change, the four Big Ten Network analysts are split on who will win. The picks: Tom Dienhart – Arizona State 29-28; Brent Yarina – Arizona State 31-28; Sean Merriman – Wisconsin 31-21; Stephen Bardo – Wisconsin 35-27
— Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 31, Arizona State 27 ” The Badgers will take the next step. The offense won’t be a well-oiled machine, and the Arizona State passing game will hit a few home runs, but Bucky will be steady, effective and efficient, pulling away in the second half after a few key defensive stops.”
— Only two of the six CBSSports.com analysts (Dennis Dodd and Jeremy Fowler) pick Wisconsin to win. They also are the only ones who think the Badgers will cover the ASU 4.5-point spread.
— CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman: Arizona State 24, Wisconsin 17. “Neither team has played anyone close to decent this season. My hunch is to go with the home team since I think they’re pretty close in skill level, it’s not an easy trip and it’s late at night Badgers time.”
— ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett: Rittenberg – Arizona State 35, Wisconsin 28. ” I just don’t like the matchup for the Badgers, even though they’ve been so impressive early on. Arizona State’s strength (pass game) goes up against Wisconsin’s weakness (secondary), and although the Badgers control the clock with their run game, the Sun Devils hit in too many big plays. Too much Taylor Kelly in this one.”; Bennett – Arizona State 28, Wisconsin 20. “I think big Will Sutton will be a shock to the system to Wisconsin offensive linemen used to dealing with the UMass and Tennessee Tech lines of the world. The secondary also gets burned a few too many times. Joel Stave throws two interceptions to thwart a comeback attempt, and Big Ten teams stay thirsty in the desert.”
— ESPN.com’s Kevin Gemmell and Ted Miller: Gemmell – Arizona State 35, Wisconsin 24. “[I]t won’t be the heat that burns the Badgers. It will be ASU’s precision efficiency, which is amplified when Taylor Kelly plays at home. In eight career home games, he has 19 TDs to three INTs and is completing 74.2 percent of his throws.”; Miller — Arizona State 24, Wisconsin 23. ” My question is whether the Sun Devils defense will be able to stand up to the relentless power-rushing attack of the Badgers. My guess is both teams will be pretty darn worn out by the end of the game. Kevin thinks the UCLA-Nebraska game was the toughest pick this week. This was it for me.”
— One again all four Athlon Sports analysts are picking the same team to win the Wisconsin game, only this time it is not the Badgers as all think Arizona State will win. The scores: 34-24, 27-20, 31-27, 28-21.
Coachingsearch.com’s Chris Vannini: Wisconsin 35, Arizona State 21
Of the 10 analysts at the Sporting News, six are picking Wisconsin to win.
Of the six analysts at USAToday.com only two are picking Wisconsin to win.