Week 4 - UTEP at Wisconsin

Posted Sep 21, 2012

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction – UTEP at Wisconsin

UTEP (1-2) at Wisconsin (2-1) Sept. 22, 12;00, ESPN2

Here's The Deal: Ha ha, Wisconsin. It's time to start showing that is nothing more than a rocky start and that everything is about to start working again. There's still time, and the horrible first three games don't really matter if the Badgers can step up and shine again next week at Nebraska and start the Big Ten season hot, but they've shown absolutely nothing to show any hope whatsoever. The running game is the worst in the Big Ten, and so is the offense, and the team is making too many mistakes and isn't coming through with any big plays outside of a late stop to save the win over Northern Illinois. Wisconsin should've lost to Utah State, was awful until late against Oregon State, and now has to come up with a good performance against UTEP so everyone can exhale.

The Miners started out the season with a good fight against Oklahoma, but the offense failed to capitalize on several chances and didn't wake up the week later against Ole Miss. Everything clicked against New Mexico State, and now there's a chance to come up with a splashy win over a wounded giant. Wisconsin is ripe for the picking.

Why UTEP Might Win: Wisconsin's O line isn't generating any sort of a push whatsoever. With no threat of a Badger passing game, Utah State and Oregon State were able to sell out to stop the run and have had plenty of success. Normally defenses can't hold up if they send everyone at Montee Ball and the Badger ground attack, but this year, the line isn't coming up with the holes it usually creates and defenses are coming up with wave after wave of players to bottle things up. UTEP was able to stuff the Oklahoma offense until late, and with a good pass rush and active front line, it should be able to win its share of battles. UW isn't going on any long drives, so watch out for punter Ian Campbell to be a weapon in field position.

Why Wisconsin Might Win: It's not like the UTEP offense is doing anything special. The passing game worked against New Mexico State, and they threw well at times against Ole Miss, but the offense isn't going to throw anything the Badgers can't handle. The UW defense has been fine; it's the offense that's the biggest problem. UTEP's run defense was blown away by Ole Miss for 330 yards, and while Oklahoma wasn't great, it came up with 205 as the offense started to work as the game went on. If the Badgers can't run this week, they're never going to be able to move the ball.

What To Watch Out For: This wasn't how it was supposed to work. Danny O'Brien was going to come in from Maryland and be the next Russell Wilson for the Badgers, but he hasn't made any magic. Enter Joel Stave, who came in last week against Utah State and wasn't allowed to do much of anything, completing 2-of-6 passes for 15 yards. The 6-5, 223-pound walk-on was hardly a hot recruit, but he's extremely smart, is a great athlete, and adds a rushing element to the equation. While he might not have any experience, he has a good enough head on his shoulders to be able to handle the pressure.

What Will Happen: Wisconsin won't be back to being Wisconsin again, but it will come up with a strong, methodical game with Montee Ball having to do way too much work to get by a mediocre team. Stave will be fine, not great.

CFN Prediction: Wisconsin 31 … UTEP 10
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Wisconsin -17 O/U: 48
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ray Lewis: A Football Life, 1 – Frankenweenie): 2