No. 8 Wisconsin is rapidly rising in the college football rankings as well is the conscious of fans across the nation following a thorough beatdown of No. 20 Michigan last week. Both teams entered the game after a bye week, and the Badgers jumped all over the Wolverines right from the jump as they cruised to one of the more notable wins from the early portion of the 2019 season.
Northwestern, on the other hand, enters Saturday's tough road test after a home loss to No. 25 Michigan State. The Wildcats are now 1-2 on the season and staring down a brutal run of at Wisconsin, at Nebraska, Ohio State and Iowa as its next four games.
Wisconsin: Every week is going to be a reassessment of how Wisconsin stacks up against Ohio State and, for that matter, the best teams in the country. We've only had three games of Badgers football so far in the 2019 season, but basically every quarter -- except for maybe the fourth quarter of last week's win against Michigan -- has gone Wisconsin's way. We'll get a look at Ohio State and Wisconsin on Oct. 26 in Columbus, but until then, it's going to be a month of games the Badgers are expected to win. If they do continue this high level of play and continue winning, their status as a threat to Ohio State and contender for the College Football Playoff will be solidified. Wisconsin needs more than a win to keep up with the rising expectations -- it needs to look dominant.
Northwestern: Last year, Northwestern won the Big Ten West, capping a run of solid seasons with Clayton Thorson at quarterback. It's beginning to look like we're in a regression year for the Wildcats following that division crown, after scoring just 17 points combined in losses to Stanford and Michigan State. There's plenty of time to turn it around, and an upset win on the road would go a long way in reversing that projection, but this offense has struggled to create explosive plays and largely been ineffective against quality competition. Northwestern already faces razor-thin margins against most of the top opponents in the Big Ten with an effective offense, so until that side of the ball shows more life, the outlook isn't going to be great.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 28 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Camp Randall Stadium -- Madison, Wisconsin
TV: ABC | Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Game prediction, picks
You don't want any part of holding a Northwestern ticket, hoping for a late garbage time touchdown to cover the big number. Don't overthink this and lay it with the Badgers. I'm pretty sure Wisconsin can get to 30, and I don't think Northwestern will get to 10. Pick: Wisconsin (-24.5)
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