This past week I got a chance to pick wins and losses for a pair of Big Ten teams this season for Athlon Sports. I went on the very optimistic side for Penn State, suggesting the Nittany Lions could string together a 10-win season if everything went right. Yeah, everything has to go right in order for that to be a possibility. The other team I went down the schedule for was Wisconsin, perhaps the pick to come out of the Big Ten west division.
Where Penn State has a bit of a hill to climb in the east, Wisconsin is already positioned well on top of the west. Nebraska may be the biggest threat in the division, but the Badgers get the Huskers at home in Camp Randall Stadium. What concerns me the most with Wisconsin’s schedule is what comes immediately after Nebraska; Iowa.
As I have gone on record of saying, Iowa just seems like a team that could sneak up on some people this season. Apparently I’m not alone in thinking Kirk Ferentz could have some tricks up his sleeves. The unofficial Big Ten media poll organized by The Plain Dealer in Cleveland has Iowa finishing second in the west, ahead of Nebraska. Are we all drinking from the some Iowa Kool-Aid cooler, or are the Hawkeyes a legitimate contender in the west? Either way, Wisconsin’s trip to Kinnick Stadium could not have come at a potentially worse time. Wisconsin gets the big home game against Nebraska but travels to Iowa the following week. It just looks like a recipe for a hangover for the Badgers.
Every member of the Athlon Sports poll has Wisconsin dropping the season opener in Houston against LSU, and five out of seven of the panelists are on board with Iowa taking it to the Badgers in November. You can see the full rundown, as well as comments about Wisconsin from me and the other panelists; Steven Lassan, Mark Ross and David Fox of Athlon Sports, Brent Yarina from the Big Ten Network, my pal Brandon Cavanaugh from Husker Corner and Mike Fiammetta of Bucky’s 5th Quarter, the SB Nation site covering Wisconsin.
So, how many wins are you predicting for Wisconsin this season?