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Indiana QB Cameron Coffman
Indiana QB Cameron Coffman
Posted Nov 8, 2012

Week 11 Fearless Prediction – Wisconsin at Indiana


Wisconsin (6-3) at Indiana (4-5) Nov. 10, 12:00, ESPN2

Here’s The Deal: Really? Indiana wins two games and all of a sudden it’s on the way to Pasadena? The Big Ten’s crazy storyline this week – and possibly the year if IU pulls out the win –is an IU team that came up with two wins over bad Illinois and Iowa teams, and now is in a position to make a huge statement in the race to win the depleted Leaders division with a win over a Wisconsin team that has won the last seven games in the series including the last two by a combined score of 142 to 27.

Wisconsin will wrap up a second straight Big Ten championship appearance with a win, making the regular season final games against Ohio State and Penn State meaningless. With two weeks to prepare after the overtime choke to Michigan State, can the Badgers really blow this game against a mediocre Indiana team? With quarterback question marks and an offense that’s been shockingly inconsistent, absolutely.

It might be just another game for a Wisconsin team used to big moments, but this is the most important game in Indiana football since a 5-0-1 1988 team went to Michigan – and lost 31-6.

The Hoosiers don’t have much of a defense, but it’s ultra-aggressive up front and the passing offense is the best in the Big Ten. A win over the Badgers won’t wrap up the Leaders, and they’ll still have work to do on the road against Penn State and Purdue, but it’s possible they could win this game, finish 5-7 and still play up the road in the Big Ten championship.

Why Wisconsin Might Win: Indiana is last in the Big Ten against the run. Northwestern and Ohio State were able to rip off huge yards because of their quick quarterbacks, and playing Navy hurts the overall stats, but the defensive front can get pushed a little bit and bad, bad things happen when runners get into the second level. Wisconsin was stuffed by Michigan State for 19 yards on the ground, but the ground game had found itself against Purdue and Minnesota with over 800 yards and nine touchdowns. Again, the team is coming off a bye and a loss, and while this is a much different team in a much different season, it had two weeks off to prepare for IU last year and won 59-7. Coming off of in-season bye weeks the Badgers are 4-0 over the last three years winning by a combined score of 181 to 37.

Why Indiana Might Win: No, the Indiana run defense isn’t strong, but it’s fantastic at getting into the backfield. Wisconsin’s O line has struggled all season long with ultra-aggressive defensive fronts that are able to get into the backfield and stop the plays before they start. Wisconsin’s running game works when the backs are able to wait for the holes to develop with patience always the key, but the blocking hasn’t gotten the job done on a consistent basis. Offensively, the IU defense has done a phenomenal job of not giving the ball away. Last week’s lost fumble against Iowa was the first one this year – the team has put the ball on the ground just once.

What To Watch Out For: The Danny O’Brien experience just isn’t working out. First it was Joel Stave who took over the starting job, but he was knocked out for the year with a collarbone injury. Now it’s going to be up to Curt Phillips to run the Wisconsin attack, winning out in practices over an ineffective O’Brien. Phillips career has been defined by brutally unfair luck. At 6-3 and 225 pounds he has great size, tremendous mobility and a world of talent, but he also has really, really bad knee issues. The 2007 Tennessee Player of the Year threw for 5,418 yards in high school along with 3,788 rushing yards and 64 touchdowns, but after coming to Madison he was knocked out with a torn ACL in two straight seasons.

What Will Happen: Order will be restored. Phillips will come up with a sharp and effective game, and after a quarter the Badger running game will get rumbling. The Wisconsin defense will have a few problems with an IU passing game that will keep pressing all game long, but the linebacking tandem of Mike Taylor and Chris Borland will dominate leading the way to a +2 turnover margin.

CFN Prediction: Wisconsin 38 … Indiana 27
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Wisconsin -7 O/U: 55
Must Watch Rating (5 – Skyfall, 1 – Wreck It Ralph): 4