It has taken a while, but Wisconsin is playing a game as a ranked team and, as it turns out, is playing an opponent which is also ranked.
In terms of compiling predictions, that certainly makes things easier.
The Badgers are, as I write this, a 10-point favorite over Northwestern. Whether that spread is too large or not, I don’t know, but the feeling among prognosticators certainly is that Wisconsin is expected to emerge victorious.
Here’s a look around the web and Twitter for predictions of Saturday’s game:
Three of the four experts at FOXSports.com are picking Wisconsin to win. Joel Klatt is the lone one to go with Northwestern. Stewart Mandel thinks it will be Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 10. "Northwestern has managed to win eight games despite a glaring weakness at quarterback, but that’s much tougher to hide against Wisconsin’s top-10 D." Bruce Feldman calls it Wisconsin 23, Northwestern 17. "It’s been a good year for Pat Fitzgerald’s team getting things back on track after the two-game losing skid, but expect the Badgers to wear NU down by the fourth quarter."
Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 13. "Last year, the Badgers gagged away a sure win against the Wildcats with three Stave interceptions, and now he’s going to make amends. This will be a defensive struggle, but the rested Badgers will win this at home with a good second half."
The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel: Wisconsin 23, Northwestern 20.
By way of the PickCenter, Teamrankings.com has an average score of Wisconsin 26.0, Northwestern 14.7 while numberFire has the average score Wisconsin 28.8, Northwestern 18.9 (and also gives the Badgers a 48.3% likelihood of covering a 10-point spread).