When Wisconsin and BYU agreed in October 2012 to play games in 2017 and ’18, it probably seemed like the Badgers would be facing a decent opponent.
After all, BYU was 4-2 at the time and in the previous four seasons had finished with records of 10-3, 7-6, 11-2 and 10-3. But the Cougars would stumble to the finish line in 2012, going 4-3 the rest of the way, and haven’t won nine games in a season since.
This year, the Cougars are 1-2 with their only win over FCS Portland State. BYU’s offense has been, in a word, putrid.
Bottom line: You just never know how things are going to turn out. As such, for the third straight week the Badgers are getting all the love from prognosticators, most of whom think BYU won’t reach 20 points.
Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 26, BYU 16. “BYU is way, way overdue for a decent performance offensively, but it’s not going to happen this week. Fortunately for the Cougars, the defense will keep the game interesting well into the second half as the Badgers sputter and cough on drive after drive. However, BYU’s offense will be its ugly self just when it needs to rise up and take advantage of its chances. This will be the Rafael Gaglianone game. The Badger kicker will nail four field goals to bail the offense out in a grinding, tough win.”
Mitch Harper of Athlon Sports: Wisconsin 33, BYU 10. “It’s hard to find anywhere in this matchup where BYU has an advantage over Wisconsin. The Badgers are a top-10 team and could be a College Football Playoff participant this season. They are talented and this game won’t be close. Wisconsin’s ground game will overwhelm a BYU defense that has been exhausted the past two weeks due to the inept play of the Cougar offense. Expect Jonathan Taylor and Chris James in the Badger backfield to have big days on the ground and QB Alex Hornibrook to air it out to his favorite target, tight end Troy Fumagali, to give the Badgers balance on offense as they cruise to a solid win in preparation for Big Ten play in two weeks.”
David Kenyon of Bleacher Report: Wisconsin 27, BYU 16. “Which BYU run defense shows up? The Cougars held Portland State to 2.4 yards per tote before LSU posted 5.2, and then they limited Utah to 3.2. Wisconsin back Bradrick Shaw is uncertain for Saturday, but Jonathan Taylor and Chris James filled in effectively once. If Shaw is out again, the duo will help the Badgers control the clock. Otherwise, the Badgers will have a three-headed monster.”
Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press: Wisconsin 35, BYU 18.
Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register: Wisconsin 28, BYU 10. “Anytime a Big Ten team travels West, it can be a difficult proposition. But it’s hard to imagine a Brigham Young team that’s rushed 38 times for 58 yards the past two weeks (losses to LSU and Utah) faring well against Wisconsin’s vaunted defense. The Badgers have a bye after this, so look for a focused, workmanlike, ground-and-pound performance.”