Wisconsin Badgers predictions: Game 4 vs. Northwestern
Coming off a big win over Michigan and now set to host an offensively challenged Northwestern team, it’s probably little surprise that prognosticators have (at least from what we could find) unanimously predicted No. 8 Wisconsin will win this Saturday.
The real question is: by how many points?
The point spread, as we type this, is 24 1/2 points. The Wisconsin-Northwestern series has seen crazy (and unexpected) games in the past. On the other hand, the Badgers have covered in each of their three games this year while the Wildcats have failed to do so in all of their three.
When it comes to margin of victory, well, there’s a variety of opinion.
With that being said, here’s this week’s predictions from around the web and Twitter:
The Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo: Wisconsin 35, Northwestern 7. “Nothing about the way these teams have played suggests this should be close.”
Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 34, Northwestern 10. “As long as the Badgers don’t start giving up turnovers in bunches – again, that’s been an issue in the series over the last few decades – they should be able to pound away, let Jonathan Taylor run, and have a relatively drama-free game.”
Bill Bender of The Sporting News: Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 17. “The Badgers are huge favorites in a Big Ten West showdown, but there’s a chance for a little bit of a letdown after the big win against Michigan. The Wildcats have won three of the last five meetings and haven’t lost to the Wisconsin by more than 21 since 2013.”
Kevin McGuire of Athlon Sports: Wisconsin 35, Northwestern 10. “After the performance Wisconsin put on display against Michigan last week, it would be difficult to come up with any way Northwestern knocks off the Badgers in Madison this week. With a struggling offense and a defense vulnerable to the kind of game Wisconsin will attack with, Northwestern will be challenged to come up with the upset. Wisconsin wins this one, and it could be pretty lopsided in favor of the Badgers.”
Kerry Miller of Bleacher Report: Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 7. “Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor has been outstanding, averaging 7.6 yards per carry with 10 total touchdowns through three games. But Northwestern has been one of the only teams capable of slowing him down. He has been held to 80 rushing yards or fewer just four times in his career, and two of those came against the Wildcats … Even if Taylor struggles with this front seven for a third time, though, Wisconsin is leading the nation in total defense with an absurd mark of 171.3 yards per game. … The Wildcats might become the third team the Badgers shut out this season.”
Josh Slagter of MLive.com: Wisconsin 35, Northwestern 3. “This should be a blowout from the opening snap. And that’s primarily a credit to the Badgers, who look like the most complete Big Ten team outside of Columbus. But it’s also a nod to Northwestern’s offense, which is struggling with Hunter Johnson at QB and won’t find any breathing room in Madison. It’s been a miserable September for Pat Fitzgerald.”
Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Leader: Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 7. “The Badgers enjoy the nation’s best scoring and total defense. There’s no reason to expect that’ll change after Saturday.”
Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register: Wisconsin 35, Northwestern 3. “I completely missed the mark on the Badgers, having picked them to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten West. (Oops.) In fact, I had them losing this game to Northwestern before the season. (Oops.) There’s no way Wisconsin loses this one, with an overpowering line, a stingy defense and the best running back in the country. The Wildcats are typically only as good as their starting quarterback, and Hunter Johnson (48.5% completions, 4.5 yards an attempt, one touchdown, four interceptions) is not yet living up to his five-star status.”
The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel: Wisconsin 33, Northwestern 10.
Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: Wisconsin 40, Northwestern 13. “The Badgers have to be careful about a hangover, which is a daily concern in the state of Wisconsin. Especially so after thumping Michigan, which prompted the following overreactions: Wisconsin has the best defense in the country! Jonathan Taylor is the greatest back in college football history! Dairy products don’t slow you down after all!”
Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press: Wisconsin 45, Northwestern 14.
Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times: Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 13.
Joe Vozzelli of the Champaign News-Gazette: Wisconsin 48, Northwestern 24. “Badgers suffering a letdown against the Wildcats? Don’t see it. The Wildcats have looked pedestrian on offense, ranking second to last in points per game (15.7).”
Al Arend of the Herald-Palladium: Wisconsin 42, Northwestern 7.
Brad Crawford and Chris Hummer of 247 Sports: Crawford — Wisconsin 35, Northwestern 13; Hummer –Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 9.
Bill Connelly of ESPN: His S&P+ projection has it Wisconsin 40, Northwestern 4.
SportsLine Projection Model: Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 12.
All three at The Oregonian/OregonLive.com pick Wisconsin to win. The scores: Ken Goe, 27-21; Sean Meagher, 42-20; Joel Odom, 28-7.
Twelve of the 13 pickers at Al.com think the Badgers will not only win, but also cover a 23.5-point spread.
All three Athlon Sports analysts are picking Wisconsin to win.
All six analysts at USAToday.com pick Wisconsin to win.
All nine analysts for the Dallas Morning News have Wisconsin winning and six of the nine believe the Badgers will cover a 21 1/2-point spread.
All three analysts at FootballScoop.com pick Wisconsin to win.