Matchup and prediction
Last season, the Badgers went on the road and were upset in Illinois as almost 30-point favorites. They had to go on the road to face Ohio State the next week. I think it is certainly reasonable to say they were looking past Illinois. It was a classic trap game. I don’t think Wisconsin will make that same mistake again.
In fact, I think Wisconsin was excited to see they opened their 2020 season against Illinois. They have some payback to deliver. Wisconsin running back Nakia Watson’s comment alluded to their attitude towards Illinois this season.
I think the Wisconsin football team is going to come out with their foot on the gas and won’t let up. There are a couple of reasons for this. First and foremost, they want Illinois to know where they belong in the Big Ten West and that last year’s game was a fluke. Second, with the Big Ten starting later than a lot of the NCAA, they will need to win some games big. This year, the CFP Selection Committee will need to use the eye test more than ever. Not all teams are going to be playing the same amount of games. I think that will be a reason for the Badgers to hang a big number on Illinois this Friday.
The Wisconsin defense will look to shut down Imatorbhebhe in the passing game. If they can lock him up, I don’t see how Illinois has a chance. I think the Badgers run free on the Illinois defense, making life easy for Mertz in his first start.
I think Wisconsin wins this game convincingly and start the 2020 season off on a strong note.
Wisconsin 34 – Illinois 10