Wisconsin Badgers predictions: Game 11 at Purdue

BY Dave Heller • November 16, 2018

As usual, a football season went by in the blink of an eye.

There's only two regular-season games for Wisconsin -- this will be our last prediction round (we'll take next week off due to Thanksgiving but will be back for the bowl game) -- and things surely haven't gone as the Badgers, or their fans, had hoped.

Wisconsin is an underdog for the third time this year as it readies for its final road game. Saturday's opponent, Purdue, has had an up-and-down season as well and has a slight distraction in that head coach Jeff Brohm is rumored to be out the door after the season.

Perhaps that's why a majority of this week's prognosticators are picking Wisconsin,  a four-point underdog as I write this, to beat Purdue. It's not a heavy majority, but it's a majority nonetheless.

However, in what might be a first in the years I've been doing this, the majority of UW fans are picking against the Badgers (of course, we also have a record-low turnout in fan predictions, which speaks to the way this season as well).

Welcome -- or rather, goodbye -- to 2018.

Here are this week's picks from around the web and Twitter:

Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 31, Purdue 20. "The Badgers are way, way overdue for a decent performance against a good team. This will be it."

Kevin McGuire of Athlon Sports: Wisconsin 27, Purdue 20. "Trying to figure out Purdue has been difficult to do at times this season. A week after smashing Ohio State at home, Purdue was shut down by Michigan State. And a week after topping Iowa to create a brief stir in the Big Ten West, the Boilermakers were obliterated at Minnesota. How do they bounce back this week against a team that is banged up but still a stronger and deeper team in Wisconsin? It’s honestly anyone’s guess, and with conversations swirling about Brohm’s future, this game could go any number of ways. But one thing remains consistent, and that is Wisconsin’s ability to run the football. Expect Wisconsin to take control with that and find a way to bounce back into the win column on the road."

Mike Carmin of the Lafayette Journal & Courier: Wisconsin 25, Purdue 23. "The Boilermakers missed a prime opportunity to become bowl eligible last week and removing that hurdle from their to-do list. But they laid a big egg in Minneapolis and now face the daunting task of snapping a 12-game losing streak to a program that has controlled them for more than a decade. The swirling speculation about Brohm doesn’t help and on the field, whether Hornibrook plays is a big deal. It’s easy to see last week’s 31-point loss at Minnesota as a one-time event, and the Boilermakers will play better Saturday. The emotions of Senior Day will play a factor, but will it be enough to finally break through?"

The four reporters at the Purdue Blog Hammer & Rails are split on who will win.

Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Leader: Purdue 28, Wisconsin 24.

Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register: Purdue 31, Wisconsin 28. "Uncertainties with both programs make this a tough game to pick. Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook (concussion protocol) was listed as questionable for this game as of Thursday. On the Purdue sideline, all the talk is about head coach Jeff Brohm — will he or won’t he bolt for the Louisville job after this season? The second-year Boilermakers coach would be wise to consider the fact that he’s gained impressive traction in a West Division that should be wide open for years to come."

Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press: Wisconsin 28, Purdue 25.

Joe Vozzelli of the Champaign News-Gazette: Wisconsin 31, Purdue 30.

Jesse Temple of The Athletic ($): Purdue 28, Wisconsin 20. "This Purdue team is fully capable of beating Wisconsin. We’ve seen Purdue hammer Ohio State 49-20 this season. But Purdue just lost 41-10 to Minnesota, and that gives me reason for pause. You also have to wonder how much the Brohm-to-Louisville speculation will serve as a distraction. Purdue opened the week as a six-point favorite, which shows what people think of Wisconsin these days. The Badgers haven’t provided a ton of reason for optimism lately, losing their last three Big Ten road games. For that reason, I’m going to do something I never thought would happen just a few months ago. I’m taking the Boilermakers."

The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel: Purdue 31, Wisconsin 23.

David Kenyon of Bleacher Report: Purdue 27, Wisconsin 20. "Will the Badgers have quarterback Alex Hornibrook? That's the big question after he's missed two games with a head injury. Without him, the Badgers will struggle to match Purdue's scoring pace. Otherwise, it'll be a tight finish."

Al "Big Al' Arend of the Herald-Palladium: Purdue 33, Wisconsin 28.

Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com: Wisconsin 27, Purdue 23 (his Underdog of the Week).

Bill Connelly of SB Nation: His S&P+ projection has it Wisconsin 33, Purdue 30.

All six reporters and editors at the Los Angeles Times are picking Wisconsin. The scores: Ben Bolch, 30-20; Mike Hiserman, 28-24; J. Brady McCollough, 26-21; Blake Richardson, 34-30; Angel Rodriguez, 32-28; David Wharton, 27-20.

All three Athlon Sports analysts are picking Purdue to win.

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