After starting the season ranked 12th, the Wisconsin football team tumbled down to no. 18 in Week 2 after a loss to Penn State. After a win at home over the Eastern Michigan Eagles, the Badgers are still at the no. 18 spot in both the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll. They earned 499 total votes, 51 short of the no. 17 spot, which is occupied by Ole Miss.
Now, the Badgers may have a chance to rise without even playing. They will not have a game this weekend, which will give them an extra week to get healthy and ready for their big upcoming matchup with Notre Dame on September 25th at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Here are some matchups that will benefit the Wisconsin football team to keep an eye on this week, even though the Badgers won’t be playing.
All game lines are provided by WynnBET.
No. 15 Virginia Tech (+3) at West Virginia
Of all the games this weekend that can help the Wisconsin football team move up, I think this is the most likely to happen. Virginia Tech had a big Week 1 win over no. 10 North Carolina. In Week 2 the Hokies defeated Middle Tennessee State, 35-14.
West Virginia started their season with a loss to Maryland but rebounded in Week 2 with a 66-0 win over Long Island University.
The game is taking place in Morgantown, which can be a tough place to play, and WynnBET currently has the Hokies as three-point underdogs. You can watch it on FS1 on Saturday morning at 11:00 am CT.
Purdue at No. 12 Notre Dame
This game currently doesn’t have a line on WynnBET.
There are a couple of reasons for Wisconsin football fans to watch this game. The Badgers will play both of these teams this season. Notre Dame is next on the Badgers’ schedule and while they sit at 2-0, neither of their wins are that impressive. Jack Coan put on a great performance in Week 1 against Florida State, but with the Seminoles losing to Jackson State in Week 2, the Gold Domer’s Week 1 win doesn’t seem as impressive. In Week 2, Notre Dame had to come back late to beat Toledo at home, dropping them down the poll a bit.
Badger fans might also want to watch this game to get a look at conference foe, Purdue. The Boilermakers are 2-0 and their offense has looked pretty good so far. Take it with a grain of salt though, their Week 2 matchup was against UCONN that probably wouldn’t finish in the top half of their conference at an FCS level.
The Boilermakers will be without their stud running back in Zander Hovarth, who will miss some time after having surgery on his leg, which could impact their matchup with the Badgers later on in the year.
Depending on how you view this game determines who you want to win. A Notre Dame loss here would send them tumbling even further down the polls, likely past 18, potentially moving the Badgers up. But a Notre Dame victory would hurt Purdue and give the Badgers a higher profile game in Week 4.
This game will be on NBC at 1:30 pm CT.
No. 16 Coastal Carolina ( -11.5) at Buffalo
The only way this game benefits the Badgers is if the Chanticleers lose. They come into the game two spots ahead of the Badgers in the AP Poll, but I’m not too confident the Bulls can win this game. We were cheering for them against Nebraska last week, but they didn’t help us then and I don’t think they will here.
You can watch this game on ESPN2 at 11:00 am CT.
Tulane at No. 17 Ole Miss (-14.5)
Ole Miss is just ahead of the Badgers in the poll, inching them out by 51 points for the 17th spot in the poll. Tulane isn’t much of a threat to the Rebels, but if they can pull out a win on the road, that would be disastrous for Ole Miss. The Badgers would surely move up for Week 4, assuming they aren’t leapfrogged by a team behind them.
This game is on ESPN2 at 7:00 pm CT.
No. 14 Iowa State (-30) at UNLV
Iowa State is coming off of a big loss to Wisconsin’s rival in Iowa. The Cyclones let down Badger fans everywhere with their disappointing performance against the Hawkeyes. They will travel to UNLV to take on the 0-2 Rebels. A 30-point spread is pretty significant, which tells us an upset is pretty unlikely.
But if Iowa State were to fall apart and lose to UNLV, they would probably slide all the way out of the poll, leaving Wisconsin room to move up.
This game is on CBSSN at 9:30 pm CT.
Fresno State at No. 13 UCLA (-11)
UCLA is kind of a fun story this year. They’ve been a program that has been down for a long time. They started the season unranked, but they’ve had convincing wins over Hawaii in Week 0 and then-no. 16 LSU in Week 1. They moved up three spots in the poll, despite not playing in Week 2.
Fresno State comes into this matchup with a 2-1 record and wins over UCONN and Cal Poly. Their lone loss this season came at the hands of Oregon, who is now ranked in the top-5. They lost to Oregon 31-24 on the road.
Despite the 11-point spread, I think Fresno has a decent shot at winning this, even on the road. Oregon just showed the world that they are a legitimate team, beating no. 3 Ohio State in Columbus. Losing by just seven to the Ducks in Eugene is usually the mark of a pretty decent team.
This game will be played at 9:45 pm CT on the PAC12 Network.