Week 6 – Wisconsin at Illinois
I’m still not over Wisconsin’s loss to Illinois in 2019 when they went to Champagne with a 6-0 record and ranked 8th in the country. Sure, last year the Badgers got to avenge that loss by blowing Illinois out at home to open the season, but things won’t feel right until they win at Illinois again.
To make this game even sweeter, former Wisconsin football head coach Bret Bielema is at the helm for the Illini, which should be even more motivation for the Badgers.
This game shouldn’t be much of a problem for the Badgers. Assuming they don’t turn the ball over, they should walk all over Illinois and right a wrong that has been lingering for two years.
Prediction: Wisconsin 30 – Illinois 13
Week 7 – Wisconsin vs. Army
This could be a fun game. Army isn’t a common opponent for the Wisconsin football program at all. In fact, these two teams have never met before. Army is kind of an up-and-coming team that went 9-3 a season ago. This game could be a classic trap game for Wisconsin.
Army runs an offense that is very different from what the Badgers are used to. They run a triple-option offense that can cause a lot of chaos and misdirection in the backfield. Jim Leonhard and the Wisconsin defense could have a tricky game on their hands when these two play.
But would you want anyone but Jim Leonhard running your defense against an opponent like this? I think he will have the defense prepared so there won’t be any surprises when these two teams match up in October.
Prediction: Wisconsin 28 – Army 10
Week 8 – Wisconsin at Purdue
In their seventh game, the Wisconsin football team is playing just their second Big Ten West opponent. Things are really going to start to heat up at this point. Before the Badgers can win the Big Ten and make the College Football Playoff, they need to win their division. To win this division, the Badgers need to beat teams like Purdue.
Purdue was seen as a team that was on the rise after the Boilermakers went 7-6 in Jeff Brohm’s first year as a head coach. Since then, they haven’t had a season with a winning record. Now the Boilermakers are without Rondale Moore after he entered the NFL Draft, but they still have David Bell, a dynamic receiver who put up some nice numbers last season.
Outside of Bell, I’m not sure there is a playmaker on Purdue’s offense that could really give the Badgers a problem. Winning in West Lafayette is never easy, but I think the Badgers win an ugly game with their defense.
Prediction: Wisconsin 16 – Purdue 10
Week 9 – Wisconsin vs. Iowa
This is quite possibly the biggest game on Wisconsin’s schedule this year. Many believe the Big Ten West is going to come down to the Badgers and Hawkeyes. A win over Iowa could essentially give the Badgers a two-game cushion in the lead for the Big Ten West. If they beat the Hawkeyes and finish with the same record, Wisconsin would own the tie-breaker.
Wisconsin has been the better team in four out of the past five meetings, going 4-1 over that time. Last year, the Badgers were downed in Iowa City, 28-7.
This year, the game is at home and on Homecoming. I think Camp Randall will be rocking and the juice will be flowing for the Badgers. This game will most likely come down to the wire and will depend on a Wisconsin defensive stand. If that’s the case, I feel confident that the Badgers squeak out a close a take a nice lead in the Big Ten West.