Week 7 - Wisconsin at Purdue

Posted Oct 12, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions & Game Preview - Wisconsin at Purdue

Wisconsin (4-2) at Purdue (3-2) Oct. 13, 12:00, BTN

Here's The Deal: It doesn't seem like it, but Welcome to the Big Ten Leaders Championship.

With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible, and Illinois and Indiana bad, it's going to be the Badgers or the Boilermakers in Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game with the winner this week likely to make the trip.

Even at 4-2, Wisconsin is the nation's most disappointing team with a collapse at Nebraska and a rough performance against Oregon State to take the luster off the program that's been the Big Ten's biggest bully for the last few seasons. The offensive line isn't working, the offense is last in the conference, and there but for the grace of a few misfires the Badgers should've lost to Northern Iowa and Utah State for a truly ugly start. However, they were able to roll over Illinois without a problem and they have Minnesota, Michigan State and Indiana up next before dealing with Ohio State at home. They're not good enough to run the table, but if they come out of West Lafayette for their first road win of the season, all they have to do is hold serve the rest of the way.

The Boilermakers have to go on the road for four of the next five games including dates at Ohio State and Iowa, and they also have to deal with a home game against Penn State. All the excitement and all the promise from a good showing in a tough loss to Notre Dame, and huge offensive performances against Eastern Michigan and Marshall, all went away with an ugly 44-13 loss to Michigan. Like Wisconsin's loss to Nebraska, the blowout to the Wolverines wasn't in the division so there's plenty of time to take over the Leaders, but it has to start now and it has to come against a team that has absolutely owned them.

The Badgers have won six in a row in the series with most of the victories big-time blastings including last year's 62-17 squeaker. UW has won those six by a total of 208 to 70.

Why Wisconsin Might Win: Denard Robinson and his 234 rushing yards were the reason Purdue got its doors blown off last week, but the Boilermaker offense didn't help the cause with next to nothing happening with the passing game and with no ground attack to speak of. The offense failed to generate anything on the ground against the two good teams on the schedule – Notre Dame and Michigan – failing to hit 100 yards and not rushing for a touchdown in either game. For all of Wisconsin's faults, the defense has been solid against everyone's ground game but Nebraska's allowing just three touchdowns on the year and 135 yards or fewer to everyone but the Huskers. Bucky's defensive front and the terrific linebacking corps won't get rolled over.

Why Purdue Might Win: Wisconsin, good luck running on the Purdue defensive line. Forget about the disaster the Boilermakers had against Michigan last week; Denard had a game. However, nothing else worked with Fitzgerald Toussaint averaging 1.1 yards per carry on 17 tries and with most of Robinson's yards coming on the outside. Kawann Short is playing at an All-America level, and Bruce Gaston is coming up with a great year helping to clog things up on the inside. Wisconsin's offensive line is getting beaten up by mediocre lines, and now it's going against a great front four that should be able to shoot into the backfield and stop Montee Ball and the Badger runners cold. This game, for Wisconsin, will come down to …

What To Watch Out For: Can Joel Stave continue to be okay? Russell Wilson isn't coming back, and Danny O'Brien was too mediocre, and Stave has been able to help make the passing game work just enough to get by. He struggled against Nebraska to hit on a third down play, but he pushed the ball down the field a little bit more against Illinois being helped out by Jared Abbrederis, who might be one of the Big Ten's most valuable players. When healthy, he's a difference maker catching 20 passes with three scores over the last three games and cranking out three straight 100-yard games.

Who's going to start at quarterback for Purdue? Rob Henry and Robert Marve got their chances against Michigan, but Caleb TerBush is still the starter and still the leader the offense will work around. Last year he completed 10-of-19 passes for 103 yards and a score with two picks in the blowout against the Badgers, and this week he has to come up with a sharp, mistake-free game. That might be a problem with at least on pick in each of the last four games.

What Will Happen: Wisconsin's offense will bog down way too often, and Purdue will make way too many mistakes, in an ugly game that won't do anything to get anyone excited about the Leaders race. The Badgers will stink a little less with the defense coming up with a few big stops in the fourth quarter to get by.

CFN Prediction: Wisconsin 24 … Purdue 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Purdue -2 O/U: 51
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 4