Week 5 at Northwestern
Northwestern went from winning the Big Ten West in 2018 to finishing last in 2020. While they probably won’t struggle as much this year, I would assume they will finish in the bottom half of the division. Last season, they had two quarterbacks log a decent amount of playing time. Aiden Smith and Hunter Johnson split the majority of the snaps. Now, they have graduate transfer Peyton Ramsey, who made his way to Evanstown from Indiana. Talk about a quarterback controversy.
This game should be a piece of cake for the Badgers, but weird things happen at Northwestern. For some reason, games are uglier there than most places and they tend to hang around longer than you’d like to see. I think this will be an ugly, low-scoring game, but the Badgers pull it out in the end.
The Pick: Wisconsin
Week 6 vs. Minnesota
Probably the biggest, if not the second biggest game on the Wisconsin football schedule. Minnesota is an up and coming program. I hate to say it, but they are. It’s nice to actually have a competition in the rivalry again, but I’d still rather see the Badgers beat down their little brothers from across the Mississippi every year.
P.J. Fleck has the Gophers turning into a winning program. They went 11-2 last year and finished second in the Big Ten, no matter what their rings say. I think this will be Wisconsin’s biggest test of the year. Luckily, it’s at home this year and the Gophers lost Tyler Johnson and Antoine Winfield Jr. from last year’s squad. Like Purdue’s Rondale Moore, star receiver Rashod Bateman also opted out when there wasn’t going to be a Big Ten season. He has since re-enrolled at Minnesota and is practicing, but will still need to apply for a waiver to become eligible to play again, but I’m sure that won’t be a problem.
I think being at home is the big difference for the Badgers as they hang onto Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the second straight year.
The Pick: Wisconsin