The Wisconsin Badgers have to be happy with where they’re at after beating previously-ranked #25 Minnesota and jumping four spots in the BCS Standings all the way up to #15.
With one game remaining against Penn State, the Badgers have pretty much assured themselves a spot in the top-14 if they win. This means that they could be asked to play in a BCS game if the all the chips fall right.
Not so fast though, Penn State knocked off the Badgers in an overtime thriller last year and it would make the program look a lot better if they could do it again.
Penn State Nittany Lions (6-5) Analysis: Penn State’s season has been up-and-down all year as they’ve alternated between wins and losses for 10 weeks now. Two of their six wins came in overtime, including an exciting win against Michigan which lasted four overtimes.
True freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg has gotten all the credit for a fearless offensive attack, yet it’s been senior wide-out Allen Robinson who’s carried the load in an offense that ranks 44th in the nation at 251.9 passing yards per game. The tall senior receiver is averaging 119.1 yards per game on 8.1 receptions per game which are both tops in the Big Ten. Everyone has been dazzling over what Hackenberg is doing, but they should be talking about Robinson.
Defense is usually the staple of the Nittany Lions and they certainly aren’t bad on that side of the ball. However, it’s becoming evident that Head Coach Bill O’Brien is transforming the identity of this football team and making it more about the offensive as that is his specialty. The team is led by senior linebacker Mike Hull who averages 7.1 tackles per game.
Wisconsin Badgers (9-2) Analysis: Ever since losing to the Buckeyes on September 28th, the Badgers have done nothing short of winning and when we say win, we mean demolishing opponents. Wisconsin has won it’s last six contests by an average of 23.8 points.
Senior running back James White began the year as the starter and he’s appeared to steal that role back from teammate Melvin Gordon with over 100 yards in each of his last four games. Amazingly, White has scored at least one touchdown in every game this season except on the road against Arizona State. For the season, he has 15 total touchdowns. Fellow senior Jared Abbrederis will also look to build upon a season where he’s averaging 5.1 catches and 76.3 yards per game.
Wisconsin’s defense has been the storyline in 2013 as they rank 5th in the nation while giving up only 13.4 points per game. They’ve been even better at home where opponents have scored only three total touchdowns. Only Alabama can say the same thing about playing at home this season. Wisconsin will have a distinctive edge in the red-zone this week as Penn State struggles inside the 20 yard line and the Badgers excel at keeping opponents from scoring.
Brutally Honest Prediction: Wisconsin 40 Penn State 14
There’s really no reason to pick against the Badgers at home, especially on Senior Day. They’ve covered every game at home this season and appear to be playing at their peak right now. Meanwhile, Penn State has struggled to score against formidable defenses and it won’t be easy at all to go in to Camp Randall and put up points. Six opponents have put up a total of 36 points in Madison this year.
TV Coverage: 2:30 PM CT ESPN; Mike Patrick (play-by-play), Ed Cunningham (analyst) and Jeannine Edwards (sidelines)
Betting Lines: Wisconsin favored by 24.0 points and the over/under set at 49.5 points.
2013 Record straight up: 10-1
2013 Record against the spread: 5-6
2013 Record in over/under: 7-3
*no over/under for Tennessee Tech game
Last week redux: Picked Badgers to win 35-10 over Minnesota (they actually won 20-7). Hit straight up and over/under (50), but not against the spread (-15.5). It was the first time in 10 games that the Badgers didn’t cover the spread.
Do you think Penn State can spoil Senior Day for the Badgers or will Wisconsin keep rolling? Let me know by commenting below.
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys sharing Fantasy Advice and pretends to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at email@example.com.
*Pictures obtained from collegefootballap.org and detroitnews.com