Wisconsin Badgers predictions: Game 4 vs. Northwestern

During the first three weeks of the season, we couldn’t find an analyst around the web who would pick against Wisconsin.

Following the Badgers’ bye week, one (actually two) have emerged.

For the first time this season, two of our expert prognosticators are going against Wisconsin, which enters Saturday’s game against rival Northwestern as a 14.5-point favorite.

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Badgers fans on Twitter also seem confident of Wisconsin advancing to 4-0 on the season.

Of course, this is Wisconsin and Northwestern, where strange things tend to happen.

Here are this week’s predictions from around the web and Twitter:

The Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo: Northwestern 28, Wisconsin 27 (he lists this as his upset special of the week).

Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 37, Northwestern 20. “Getting the two weeks off to rest up will help the Badgers more than the Wildcats – the O line needed some time to heal up. It’ll take about a half to pull away, but the Badgers will dominate in the second half. The pass rush will take over late, overcoming a big yardage day from Thorson.”

Tom Dienhart of BTN.com: Wisconsin 38, Northwestern 17.

Best of the Badgers

Mike Bainbridge of Athlon Sports: Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 14. “Northwestern is 1-1 in their last two meetings against the Badgers. Two years ago when the Wildcats pulled off the 13-7 upset, Justin Jackson rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries. Last year in a losing effort, Jackson had just 42 yards on 13 carries. If Northwestern is to pull the upset, Jackson will need to rival his 2015 performance, but that will be challenging against the No. 10 rush defense in the country.”

Josh Slagter of MLive.com: Wisconsin 30, Northwestern 20.

Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register: Wisconsin 24, Northwestern 20. “The last time Northwestern visited Madison, in 2015, it was a grind-it-out, 13-7 Wildcats’ win. Two years later, Clayton Thorson is still Northwestern’s quarterback. Justin Jackson is still Northwestern’s running back. And the spread is more than two touchdowns? It almost feels like Vegas is begging us to take Northwestern. So, let’s look at Wisconsin. The Badgers have been fantastic in almost every phase. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook leads the Big Ten in passing efficiency. Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor (8.3 yards a carry) is the real deal. And the defense, despite some key injuries, is seventh in FBS. So, Wisconsin definitely has the ability to make this a rout. But Pat Fitzgerald knows this is the game – or else – if Northwestern wants to win the Big Ten West. Look for an inspired performance by the Wildcats.”

Athon Sports’ Mitch Light: Wisconsin 28, Northwestern 20.

Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times: Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 17.

The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel: Wisconsin 41, Northwestern 10.

Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press: Wisconsin 34, Northwestern 17.

All three Athlon Sports analysts have Wisconsin winning.

Bill Connelly of SB Nation: His S&P+ projection has it Wisconsin 35, Northwestern 17.

All six of CBSSports.com analysts pick Wisconsin four of those think the Badgers will cover a 14.5-point spread.

David Kenyon of Bleacher Report: Wisconsin 23, Northwestern 13. “Northwestern failed to muster any threat on the ground in a road loss to Duke earlier this season, and Wisconsin has consistently contained running backs. Unless NU quarterback Clayton Thorson can pick apart the Badgers secondary—and that’s unlikely—it’ll be a frustrating trip to Madison for the Wildcats.”

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune: Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 17.

Zac Al-Khateeb of The Sporting News: Wisconsin 38, Northwestern 17.

Jesse Temple of Land of 10: Wisconsin 34, Northwestern 13.

All the ESPN.com Big Ten contributors picked Wisconsin to win. And once again we have some scores: Dan Murphy 24-21, Tom VanHaaren 24-20, Mitch Sherman 41-17.

Daniel Gallen of pennlive.com picks Wisconsin.

All six analysts at USAToday.com pick Wisconsin to win.

Two of three analysts at FootballScoop.com went with Wisconsin as the winner, with Doug Samuels the lone dissenter picking Northwestern.

CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm picks Wisconsin to win (and takes the points).