Forecast: Wisconsin Football Week One

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 03: Derrick Tindal
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 03: Derrick Tindal /

A recent Wisconsin graduate shares his forecast for Wisconsin’s opening game of the 2017 college football season against Utah State

To be honest, I am a bit sad writing this preview. Having just graduated from UW in May, I won’t be in Camp Randall for the first time since the 2012 season.  That’s an easy forecast.

The first football game-day was one of the highlights of the year.  Specifically, waking up at the crack of dawn to in spirited preparation.

It was something we had looked forward to for a long time.  The crisp morning air gave you that special feeling that Badger football had returned.

Wisconsin Badgers Football
Wisconsin Badgers Football /

Wisconsin Badgers Football

Last year was even more special.   I was lucky enough to trek up to Green Bay and watch the Badgers upset LSU at Lambeau Field.

While I understand that this is a night game, that gives me an even bigger feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out).

Night games at Camp Randall are my favorite.  Yet, early kickoffs were always appreciated after a long week.  Those made football a full day event with your friends was even better.

Over the course of the season, my nostalgia will likely (hopefully) fade.  My focus is on Wisconsin earning its first College Football Playoff appearance.  Everything starts with the home-opener with Utah State.

This is the first time since 2013 that UW will not have to face either LSU or Alabama in the first week of the season.  In 2013, UW drubbed UMass, 45-0, in the home opener as Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement all ran for over 100 yards.

I see this as a positive thing for the Cardinal and White. Last year the Badgers knocked off LSU.

However, early-season losses were a gray cloud for UW fans.  Namely because Wisconsin missed on that one resume-building win they need to impress the CFP committee.

I personally believe that having an easier set of first few games will give Alex Hornibrook and the offense some time to gel together before their first road game at BYU.

The good news for Wisconsin is that since 2013, they have won their first game at Camp Randall by a combined score of 194-13.  In addition, UW has outscored opponents by an average of just over 45 points-per-game.

More positive stats show that Wisconsin is 13-3 in night games at Camp Randall since 1996.  However, Bucky split two primetime decisions last season.  UW lost a tough game against Ohio State before beating Nebraska two weeks later.

On the flip-side, Utah State has a relatively young squad.  The Aggies return a lot of players from the 2016.  Utah State  went 3-9 and 1-7 in Mountain West play a season ago.

The player to watch for the Aggies would probably by quarterback Kent Myers. He accounted for almost 50 percent of Utah State’s 35 offensive touchdowns last season (10 passing, six rushing).

Last season we saw a tale of two games when the Badgers welcomed non-conference opponents to Camp Randall. UW handled Akron easily, defeating the Zips by a score of 54-10.  But the following week was a struggle for the Badgers, as they squeaked by Georgia State, 23-17.

Next: Previewing Utah State with Logan Herald Journal News

The Aggies ended the 2016 season losing eight of its final nine games.  Although UW enters the season a bit banged up on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t expect it to be a huge problem in this game.

Wisconsin is a 27.5-point favorite.  If  past home-openers are any indication, UW will cover that.

I’m looking for Troy Fumagalli, Bradrick Shaw and the entire linebacking crew to step up for the Badgers against Utah State.

There aren’t many players left from the 2013 and 2014 squads coached by Gary Andersen.  Yet, perhaps there is a little revenge on Wisconsin’s mind against his former school.

I also forecast I will be Jumping Around after the third quarter.

Wisconsin 48, Utah State 17