Big Ten Predictions as Conference Play Begins

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Michael Caputo and Joe Schobert talk before a fourth quarter snap against Troy. Jim Oxley photo

Who will win the Big Ten West?

Erik Buchinger: Wisconsin will win the Big Ten West. The Badgers benefit from an easy conference slate, which does not feature any Buckeyes, Wolverines, Nittany Lions or Spartans. I am already changing my thoughts from our preseason predictions. Wisconsin will beat Nebraska, who has had a disappointing start to the season. The Badgers will have challenges against Iowa and a surprising Northwestern team, but both games are at home. Wisconsin has an easy four-game stretch against Purdue, Illinois, Rutgers and Maryland in the middle of the schedule. Minnesota gave TCU a good game in the opening weekend, but squeaked out three-point wins against Colorado State and MAC opponents Kent State and Ohio. The Badgers will head to the Big Ten Championship with an undefeated conference record and a shot at the College Football Playoff.

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  • Taylor Johnson: My pick from the beginning of the season was Wisconsin and I’m sticking with them. As long as they can keep their head above water while Corey Clement recovers from hernia surgery, the Badgers should be fine. Joel Stave has some much renewed confidence and Wisconsin’s defense is arguably the best in the country. A somewhat favorable conference schedule should land them in Indianapolis once again in December.

    Jim Oxley: While the Wisconsin Badgers haven’t exactly been amazing on offense against the sub-par competition they’ve seen so far following the Alabama game, no one else in the west should scare them off at this point. The Iowa Hawkeyes will be a real test for the Badgers in week one of the Big Ten season, but the only game remaining on the schedule that gives me cause for alarm is on the road at Minnesota. The Badgers will win the West again.

    Rayan Vatti: Once again, Wisconsin will benefit from an easy Big Ten schedule and take the West. The Badger’s two toughest games, Iowa and #16 Northwestern, are both at Camp Randall, one of the toughest places to play in the country. Minnesota has an atrocious offense, and Nebraska is rebuilding. As long as Wisconsin wins 3 (maybe even 2) of those games, Wisconsin should take the Big 10 West.

    Next: Who Are We Sleeping On In The West?