Wisconsin Badgers predictions: Game 3 at BYU

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.

More Badgers coverage

Wisconsin is off next week. Perhaps when we return with Big Ten play there will be more of a mix of picks.

But, for now, here are this week’s predictions from around the web and Twitter:

The Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo: Wisconsin 28, BYU 13.

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.”

Tom Dienhart of BTN.com: Wisconsin 30, BYU 13.

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.”

Josh Slagter of MLive.com: Wisconsin 31, BYU 14.

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.”

BADGERS DATABASES

All three Athlon Sports analysts have Wisconsin winning.

All seven of CBSSports.com analysts pick Wisconsin AND think the Badgers will cover a 13.5-point spread.

Rinse, repeat. All the ESPN.com Big Ten contributors picked Wisconsin to win. We have some scores this week, too: Mitch Sherman 28-20, Dan Murphy 34-21, Tom VanHaaren 31-17.

Bill Connelly of SB Nation: His S&P+ projection has it Wisconsin 32, BYU 15.

The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel: Wisconsin 38, BYU 0.

Athon Sports’ Mitch Light: Wisconsin 27, BYU 10.

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.”

Jesse Temple of Land of 10: Wisconsin 27, BYU 10.

All seven analysts at SI.com think Wisconsin will emerge victorious.

Another week and a third straight time all six analysts at USAToday.com pick Wisconsin to win.

All nine analysts for the Dallas Morning News think Wisconsin will win, but only four think the Badgers will cover a 14-point spread.

Bill Bender of The Sporting News: Wisconsin 35, BYU 24.

All three analysts at FootballScoop.com went with Wisconsin as the winner.

Daniel Gallen of pennlive.com picks Wisconsin.

Jason Churchill of HERO Sports: Wisconsin 31, BYU 20.