Will the Wisconsin Badgers’ bye week help them to overcome the No. 19 Northwestern Wildcats, who held a lead over No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes into the fourth quarter last Saturday? The Wildcats are a hungry bunch coming off of a loss in which they had the lead almost the entire game in what would have been their biggest win of the millennium. As Northwestern battled it out last weekend, Wisconsin rested and recovered.
When asked about the bye Andersen said, “I like this bye where it sits. It’s good five games in.”
Andersen did not mind the break in the schedule, with good reason, as the bye provided the Badgers with time to get healthy and prepare for the game this Saturday against the Wildcats. Andersen continued,
“I’d rather have one bye in the season and go along and play. Whenever there’s space, you’re going to go along and try and make the best of it. I really like this one.”
Andersen liked the timing of this bye but expressed some displeasure about the fact that Wisconsin has two bye weeks this month, the next being Oct. 26. The Badgers’ first-year coach was adamant that the bye week should be used by the players to focus on their studies more so than extra preparation for the Wildcats, another example of his academics-first coaching style.
When asked how much extra prepping will be done for Northwestern over the bye week Andersen stated, “So we’ll get two and a half normal practices on Northwestern, and a whole bunch of film watching. So we should be well-prepared when we walk back in here on Monday morning for the Northwestern team.”
Since 2009, the Badgers are 5-0 coming out of bye weeks in the regular season schedule. Star seniors Chris Borland, Jared Abbrederis and James White are undefeated following byes in their careers.
Gary Andersen’s Utah State squads went a lackluster 2-4 coming out of bye weeks from 2009-2012, but finished 2-1 in the final two seasons. With the talent level Andersen began with in 2009 at Utah State, his record coming out of bye weeks is respectable at the least.
Wisconsin owns the series versus Northwestern with a 56-33-5 record, but the talent that the Wildcats boast this year is as impressive as any team they have fielded in recent history.
Kickoff this Saturday at Camp Randall is set for 2:30 PM CST on ABC. Borland, Abbrederis and White are looking to keep their blemish-free record following bye weeks in their four years at Wisconsin alive and also to avoid falling to a .500 record.