#10 Wisconsin Badgers vs. UNLV Rebels: Brutally Honest Game Preview



It’s here! College football season has arrived and it’s that transcendent time when everyone is undefeated and we still have some summer remaining. Yes, it’s that magical time when shirtless driving season and college sports season overlap. And my 2011 trek across the Midwest (and the U.S.) begins in the city where this site has our highest traffic ranking in the entire world- Madison, Wisconsin.

Speaking of high rankings, the Wisconsin Badgers are #10 in one poll, #11 in the other. It’s Big Ten title game or bust in America’s Dairyland as UW looks like a sleeper national title team. They get things started Thursday night vs. UNLV, a team they beat 41-21 last season.

Wisconsin Badgers synopsis:Russell-mania has taken over in Madison.  Former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson chose to transfer to Wisconsin and suddenly turned the team from a potential Big Ten Championship contender to legit national title threat.  That is pretty high praise for someone who has never taken a snap in a Badger uniform.  But he’s also a huge upgrade over the would be starter Jon Budmayr. So I get the hype. I would be ignorant to talk about Wisconsin and “big man” without mentioning the offensive line.  Even though they lose Carimi and John Moffitt on the left side, the Badgers breed offensive linemen like Bruce and Kris Jenner breed spoiled children, so that unit shouldn’t miss a beat.

For a full Badgers season preview go here

On defense the Badgers will get a big lift from the return of LB Chris Borland, and DB Antonio Fenelus is a Thorpe Award candidate. Patrick Butrym could be the new J.J. Watt, as in the D lineman who rises to stardom from obscurity. It would be a lot to ask for him to accomplish everything Watt did last season. For the first time in awhile, the DL is pretty close to the size of the OL- that’s really bad news for Badger opponents.

UNLV cheerleaders

UNLV Rebels synopsis:

They’re pretty deep at all the skill positions- keep an eye on WR Phillip Payne and TB Tim Cornett. Their biggest issues are on both lines, and that means one thing Thursdays night- gross mismatch. The Rebs went 2-11 last season, but at least they were consistent, as they finished 110th in scoring offense, 109th in rushing, 98th in passing and 118th overall (out of 120 teams. OUCH! Don’t look for anything brighter on the other side of the ball, they were 116th in scoring defense and run defense; 109th in total D. So, nowhere to go but up right?

Guys you’ll see Thursday night eventually playing on Sundays:

Wisconsin: big surprise here, more offensive linemen. They’re a NFL OL factory in Madison. And the next batch includes OT Ricky Wagner, G Kevin Zeitler, and C Peter Konz.  Don’t rule out either of the tailbacks Montee Ball and James White down the line either. One or two sleepers on defense will emerge as a NFL pick later. And WR Nick Toon obviously has the NFL connections/bloodlines given who his dad is.

UNLV: none right now at this time.

Prediction to be taken with a grain of salt (actually make that a whole truckload of salt):

Wis 63, UNLV 21 (Banks’ 2010 record 20-8)

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports 

He does regular weekly radio spots in Chicago and Cleveland and has appeared on live shows all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. You can follow him on Twitter


  1. Nick Grays says

    Predictions seems about right, good stuff!

  2. paulmbanks says

    thanks man! I’ll see you Thrusday!

    this could be the best tailback depth Bielema’s ever had. And that really says something given the talent we’ve seen at that position in his era

  3. I think 63 points is a bit too high in the opener… but yeah, this game should be OVA by by the third quarter… WR’s still a concern for me as far as UW goes… so is the D as a whole…

  4. Nick Grays says

    I think they’re safe at WR, Toon has shown shades of greatness and Jerrad Abbrederis is solid. The sophomore Jeff Duckworth is also worthy of stepping into a critical role with the team.

    I agree with you on the defense. I think they will be the main factor in determining whether they are national champion contenders or not.

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