Badgers predictions: Game 9 at Northwestern
Wisconsin takes back to the road this Saturday and unlike a couple of weeks ago when the Badgers played Iowa, the experts (and fans) are torn on whether UW can beat the Northwestern Wildcats.
While Northwestern isn’t ranked, winning there has been an issue for Wisconsin. The Badgers’ last win at Ryan Field was in 1999. Granted, UW has played only four games there since then, but all four times the Badgers were ranked.
Needless to say this is a big game for both teams in trying to lay claim to the Big Ten West title.
Will it be another disappointing Saturday in Evanston, Ill., for Wisconsin?
Here are this week’s predictions from around the web and Twitter:
FOXSports.com’s Stewart Mandel: Northwestern 24, Wisconsin 20 (labeled as his upset special). "Surely all those Top 10 opponents, overtime games and defensive injuries have to catch up to the Badgers at some point, right? Northwestern has the Big Ten’s No. 1 receiver (Austin Carr), No. 2 rusher (Justin Jackson) and a not-bad defense."
The Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo: Wisconsin 21, Nebraska 20.
The two Big Ten Network analysts are split. Tom Dienhart sees it Wisconsin 21, Northwestern 20 while Brent Yarina has it Northwestern 23, Wisconsin 21.
All four Athlon Sports analysts have Wisconsin winning.
The Whatifsports.com simulation has an average score of Wisconsin 23.5, Northwestern 22.8 with the Badgers winning 60.4 percent of the time.
Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 21, Northwestern 17. "Wisconsin won’t have the big turnover problems this time around, but issues with the kicking game will prove costly. Northwestern will hang around for a full four quarters, but unlike the last two seasons, it won’t find a way to pull it off. It won’t be pretty, but the Badgers will survive and advance."
Jeff Bartl of Campus Insiders: Wisconsin 20, Northwestern 14. "Get ready for a slog. It’ll turn into a Clement vs. Jackson battle that Clement eventually wins, as Wisconsin escapes with yet another close victory."
Rich Cirminiello of Campus Insiders: Northwestern 23, Wisconsin 21. "Both teams are roll-up-the-sleeves tough on D. But the Wildcats will be a shade more efficient on offense, particularly in the quarterback battle between Clayton Thorson and Badgers Alex Hornibrook and Bart Houston. It’ll be the difference, as Northwestern, not Wisconsin, moves north in the West Division hunt."
J.P. Scott of Athlon Sports: Northwestern 20, Wisconsin 13. "Unfortunately for Paul Chryst’s group, I’m not sure their patchwork lineup has what it takes to go on the road and win another physical game. They’ll show up and compete like they do every week, but they’ll eventually be worn down by an elite running back and an underrated defense. Look for the teams to trade a couple of touchdowns and field goals before Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson makes the play that eventually wins this one for the Wildcats."
Six of seven analysts at USAToday.com pick Wisconsin to win, with Paul Myerberg the lone dissenter.
The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel: Wisconsin 18, Northwestern 14.
All seven CBSSports.com analysts are picking Wisconsin to win.
Brian Pedersen of Bleacher Report: Wisconsin 28, Northwestern 20. "Northwestern has been a thorn in Wisconsin’s side the last two years, and losing to the Wildcats again would eliminate any chance the Badgers have of sneaking into the playoffs. They’ve been put through the wringer so far in league play and can’t get the passing game going. But for this week, all they need to do is stay on the ground, where Northwestern is vulnerable."
Bill Connelly of SB Nation: His S&P+ projection has it Wisconsin 30.0, Northwestern 17.9, giving the Badgers a 75.8 percent chance of winning.
The Sports Xchange: Northwestern 17, Wisconsin 16.
All four analysts at The Sporting News are taking Wisconsin over Northwestern.
Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com: Wisconsin 20, Northwestern 17.
Six of seven analysts at SI.com are predicting a Wisconsin victory.
All five of the ESPN.com Big Ten contributors picked Wisconsin to win.
Josh Liskiewitz of Pro Football Focus: Wisconsin 17, Northwestern 13.
All five writers at MLive.com think Wisconsin will win.
UPI.com: Northwestern 28, Wisconsin 20.
Dave Heller is the author of the upcoming book Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow as well as Facing Ted Williams Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns