Wisconsin vs. Nebraska -3
The two teams expected to be in the Big Ten Championship game at the beginning of the season have qualified for a rematch of an early season 31-28 Nebraska victory in Lincoln. While both Wisconsin and Nebraska were favorites to meet up in Indianapolis, the road to this game has been a bumpy one for both teams.
Wisconsin was expected to easily win the Leaders Division with Ohio State and Penn State ineligible for postseason play and they had the division wrapped up with two games to play. However, to say the Badgers truly deserve to be in this game is hard to believe. The Badgers come into the game with a 7-5 record and their best win coming as a 2 point win against Utah State. Wisconsin is starting its third quarterback of the season after opening day starter Danny O’Brien was benched for freshman Joel Stave who then broke his collarbone in the middle of the season and gave way to fifth year senior Curt Phillips. Phillips is supposed to be a “run first – pass second” quarterback, but after multiple ACL injuries over the years, he has lost almost all of his speed. When forced to pass, Phillips has yet to show he can win a game with his arm.
For Nebraska, the Huskers seem to go as far as Taylor Martinez will take them. While Martinez has done a much better job throwing the ball this year, ball security has been an issue for the Husker offense. Nebraska led the Big Ten in turnovers consistently allowing their opponents to hang around. Star running back Rex Burkhead missed a good chunk of the season but should be back for this game.
What will happen: Although Wisconsin has lost 5 games, three were in overtime and the other two were by three points each. In fact, Wisconsin has not lost a game by double digits since 2010. The keys for the Badgers will be having star linebacker Chris Borland back for the game and getting off to a fast start. Wisconsin won’t be able to come back from a double digit deficit with a predictable offense and lackluster passing game. Conversely, Nebraska simply needs to hold on to the ball to win the game. The Huskers have more fire power on offense than Wisconsin while both defenses are pretty even. This game will be a close, hard fought game but in the end it will be close but no-cigar once again for the Badgers.
Prediction: Nebraska 24 Wisconsin 17
The Play: Nebraska -3 (5Dimes.eu)
YTD Record: 16-13
Check out my other college football picks for this week by clicking here.