Wisconsin Badgers predictions: Game 7 at Illinois
If you're reading this, I'm guessing it's not because you're wondering who picked Wisconsin to beat Illinois on Saturday.
As a 31-point favorite (on the road, no less -- by the way, side note: I couldn't find UW favored by this much away from home since 1996 when they were -36 at UNLV), a Badgers win is a consensus opinion.
But as has been the case for other games in which Wisconsin was a heavy favorite, that doesn't mean there's storylines within the predictions. For example, will the Badgers cover? Or, perhaps more interestingly, can they pitch another shutout?
One thing we can promise -- next week's picks should be a lot more interesting.
Here's the picks from around the web and Twitter for Saturday's Wisconsin-Illinois titanic battle:
The Associated Press' Ralph D. Russo: Wisconsin 35, Illinois 7.
Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 41, Illinois 13. "Illinois really is good at battling, and it doesn’t quit, but it doesn’t have the horses. It doesn’t have the lines to handle Wisconsin’s style, but it’ll bother QB Jack Coan just enough to keep him under pressure to keep him from being as comfortable as he was against Michigan State. Jonathan Taylor has yet to score against the Illini, and was held to just 73 yards the last time Wisconsin headed to the middle of Illinois. He’ll get at least two touchdowns this time around. It won’t be a fifth shutout in seven games for the Badgers, but they won’t have to work too hard after the first quarter."
David Kenyon of Bleacher Report: Wisconsin 42, Illinois 7. "Illinois has played three Big Ten games, giving up 973 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. And now, they need to defend Jonathan Taylor and his 137.5 rushing yards per game. Good luck with that."
Chip Minnich of Athlon Sports: Wisconsin 56, Illinois 7. “Illinois put up a valiant effort at home against Michigan, but this Wisconsin defense manhandled that same Wolverines team, 35-14, and is playing with an intensity that the Fighting Illini just does not have the capacity to match. Look for Wisconsin to put this one away early and to be able to rest their starters as they look forward to a huge matchup in Columbus against Ohio State on Oct. 26.”
The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel: Wisconsin 26, Illinois 3.
Bill Bender of The Sporting News: Wisconsin 49, Illinois 7. “There's a small risk of the Badgers peaking ahead to Ohio State, but the Badgers are 5-1 against the spread and have yet to allow more than 15 points in a single game. And the Buckeyes will be watching on TV. Jonathan Taylor goes off for four more touchdowns here.”
Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register: Wisconsin 42, Illinois 7. "Just like with Ohio State, oddsmakers seemingly can’t make Wisconsin a big enough favorite. It’ll be interesting, though, to see how quickly the Badgers take their foot off the gas (and pull Jonathan Taylor) with the monumental showdown in Columbus on deck. Since the Big Ten went to geographical divisions in 2014, the Badgers are 26-5 (.839) against the Big Ten West. Make it 27-5 behind the No. 1 defense in college football."
Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press: Wisconsin 45, Illinois 3.
Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Leader: Wisconsin 45, Illinois 7. “The Badgers spent a month at home — five straight games — then go on the road to play at ... Illinois. Pretty sweet life right there.”
Josh Slagter of MLive.com: Wisconsin 42, Illinois 7. "Do the Badgers have a fifth shutout victim? That, and the spread of more than four TDs, are the only things in question here. It will be the first time Wisconsin is on the road since its season opener, but that was a 49-0 win over South Florida. Illinois looked lifeless against Michigan early last week, and then the Wolverines let down their guard. The only way that happens at all here is if Wisconsin is looking ahead to next week's showdown with Ohio State. Still shouldn't matter."
Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: Wisconsin 52, Illinois 6. "The Badgers are 6-0 with four shutouts but must be furious they let the Spartans hold Jonathan Taylor under 100 yards. There’s a chance the Badgers have a historically good defense, and also a chance we won’t know a thing until they face Ohio State. Illinois can’t stop the run and Wisconsin can’t stop running, so this game should have a running clock."
Rainer Sabin of the Detroit Free Press: Wisconsin 42, Illinois 3.
Joe Vozzelli of the Champaign News-Gazette: Wisconsin 38, Illinois 10.
All three writers from Illini Inquirer are picking Wisconsin to win. The scores: Jeremy Werner, 42-13; Isaac Trotter, 45-6; Ryan Easterling, 52-10.
Al Arend of the Herald-Palladium: Wisconsin 55, Illinois 14.
SportsLine Projection Model: Wisconsin 41, Illinois 16.
Bill Connelly of ESPN: His S&P+ projection has it Wisconsin 40, Illinois 16.
All three Athlon Sports analysts are picking Wisconsin to win.
All seven CBSSports.com analysts think Wisconsin will win and all but two have the Badgers covering a 29 1/2-point spread.
All six analysts at USAToday.com pick Wisconsin to win.