We get a bonus week of predictions as the Wisconsin Badgers won the Big Ten West and gets to play in its fourth Big Ten championship game, this time against the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Obviously Wisconsin hopes things go more like its first two trips to Indianapolis and not the last one.
The prognosticators around the web aren't sure what to make of this game; or at least there's no consensus other than everyone thinks this will be a close game.
It seems like more people think the Badgers will win, although it's a close count (although UW fans are a lot more optimistic now then they were, say, before the season).
Here are this week's predictions from around the web and Twitter:
FOXSports.com's Stewart Mandel: Penn State 27, Wisconsin 23. “The Badgers have squeezed every ounce out of their strong defense but limited offense. They suffered close losses to Top 10 teams Ohio State and Michigan. Behind QB Trace McSorley and a dangerous offense, the Nittany Lions have emerged as a legit Top 10 team capable of delivering the same result.”
Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 27, Penn State 20. “[Penn State] couldn’t handle the Wolverine running game, and couldn’t deal with the defensive line that held them to just 70 rushing yards. It’s not going to be that ugly, but the same thing that worked for Michigan back in September 24th will work in Indianapolis. Penn State might be a far different team now, but Wisconsin has gotten better and better as the season has rolled on, too. The Badger will win a grinder, and then they’ll have to hope and pray it was enough to impress the folks in Grapevine.”
Jeff Bartl of Campus Insiders: Wisconsin 17, Penn State 14. “This is going to be a tight game and could turn into one of those old-fashioned Big Ten slogs. The Badgers’ defense will hold for one more possession, though, and they’ll win this game with a late field goal.”
The Whatifsports.com simulation has an average score of Wisconsin 26, Penn State 24.2 with the Badgers winning 56.4 percent of the time.
Rich Cirminiello of Campus Insiders: Wisconsin 23, Penn State 20. “Defense still wins championships. At least this championship. Penn State boasts the better backfield, quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley. But the Badger run defense will neutralize Barkley, who isn’t 100%, and the secondary has been airtight all season long. Like last year, it’ll come down to the final minutes in Indianapolis, with Wisconsin hanging on in a low-scoring thriller.”
Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Penn State 24, Wisconsin 21.
Bill Connelly of SB Nation: His S&P+ projection has it Wisconsin 24.5, Penn State 24.2, giving the Badgers a 50.7 percent chance of winning.
Josh Liskiewitz of Pro Football Focus: Wisconsin 23, Penn State 20. “Wisconsin should hold serve and win a one-possession game, but they need to make a statement similar to what Ohio State did to them in the 2014 Big Ten championship game in order to jump any of the teams in front of them.”
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