Wisconsin Badgers predictions: Game 8 at Illinois
Another week and, let's face it, another uninspiring opponent for Wisconsin.
Last week, the Badgers were heavy favorites at home against Maryland. This week, Wisconsin is even a bigger favorite on the road at Illinois.
Things will get a little more interesting in the next few weeks, but for now, we're stuck with a lot of predictions of a Wisconsin blowout victory.
Because of the expected lopsided score, I posted a poll on Twitter for a "bonus" prediction. The winner, with half the votes, was Garrett Groshek rushing yards. I mean, why not, right?
Here are this week's picks from around the web and Twitter:
The Associated Press' Ralph D. Russo: Wisconsin 45, Illinois 10.
Tom Dienhart of BTN.com: Wisconsin 50, Illinois 13.
Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 40, Illinois 13. "Lather. Rinse. Repeat. You know exactly what Wisconsin is going to do. It’s going to take a lead, it’ll take a nap, Illinois will get a few good chances, but will be held to field goals, and then the Bucky O line will take over. Jonathan Taylor will hit 150 yards in the first half, and then the Badger D will take over against an Illinois offense that doesn’t have any playmakers."
Kevin McGuire of Athlon Sports: Wisconsin 38, Illinois 13. "The Illini are a young team, and they are playing like one most of the time. Against a well-oiled machine like Wisconsin, this one could turn ugly in a hurry, although Wisconsin is no stranger to getting off to a slow start. On the road, that could be the case, but the Wisconsin running game will get rolling at some point and never look back."
Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune: Wisconsin 44, Illinois 13.
Josh Slagter of MLive.com: Wisconsin 42, Illinois 6.
Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press: Wisconsin 45, Illinois 17.
Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register: Wisconsin 38, Illinois 7. "The Illini couldn’t have picked a worse matchup for homecoming. They are allowing a Big Ten-worst 4.7 yards per carry, while run-powered Wisconsin is averaging 5.5. The obvious question here is whether the Badgers cover a nearly four-TD spread on their way to 8-0. That probably depends on emotion. Can Lovie Smith get his guys to rally around their closest Big Ten loss to date? They were tied, 10-10, at Minnesota until the final four-plus minutes. But Illinois has been a bad home team (including a loss to Rutgers), and Wisconsin has arguably played its two best games on the road — at BYU, at Nebraska. The alumni boo-birds will be out early."
The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel: Wisconsin 44, Illinois 7.
David Kenyon of Bleacher Report: Wisconsin 38, Illinois 6. "'Illinois' and 'stopping the run' haven't been featured in the same sentence unless a phrase like 'is having enormous trouble' also makes an appearance. That is most decidedly bad news when Jonathan Taylor, who has three 200-yard outbursts this season, is coming to town. Wisconsin will run all over the Illini."
Jesse Temple of Land of 10: Wisconsin 42, Illinois 10.
Athon Sports' Mitch Light: Wisconsin 41, Illinois 10.
Daniel Gallen of pennlive.com picks Wisconsin.
Bill Connelly of SB Nation: His S&P+ projection has it Wisconsin 38, Illinois 12.
The Sagarin Ratings predict Wisconsin 40.72, Illinois 7.14.
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune thinks Wisconsin "will try to win big" and will cover a 26-point spread.
PickCenter: TeamRankings has an average score of Wisconsin 37.9-11.7 while NumberFire's average is 42.0-10.2. The latter also gives the Badgers a 69.5 percent likelihood over covering a 26-point spread.
As with last week, no one is picking Illinois to win straight up. Here's a list of the websites that give picks from multiple analysts who are, of course, picking Wisconsin:
The three Athlon Sports analysts.
The seven of CBSSports.com analysts -- with just one, Dennis Dodd, thinking the Badgers won't cover a 26.5-point spread.)
The six analysts at USAToday.com.
The nine analysts for the Dallas Morning News, all of whom think Wisconsin will cover a 24-point spread.
All three ESPN.com Big Ten contributors.
Yup, all eight at The Champaign Room.