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Wisconsin Badgers Football Preview: Predicting the 2016 season

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After a week spent looking at the team and getting expert opinions on all things Wisconsin Badgers football, it is time for the staff of talking10 to put their money where their mouths are.

That means it is once again that time of the week where we not only give you a simple record prediction, but we also take a look at how we see each and every one of the 12 regular season games play out.

Let’s not waste any more time, it’s on to the predictions.

2016 Wisconsin Badgers Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 3
Tigers LSU Tigers
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
2:30pm CT
ABC
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 10
Zips Akron Zips
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
2:30pm CT
BTN
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 17
Panthers Georgia State Panthers
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
11:00am CT
BTN
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 24
Spartans at Michigan State Spartans
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 1
Wolverines at Michigan Wolverines
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 8
OFF
Saturday
Oct. 15
Buckeyes Ohio State Buckeyes
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
7:00pm CT
ABC/ESPN/2
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 22
Hawkeyes at Iowa Hawkeyes
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 29
Cornhuskers Nebraska Cornhuskers
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
6:00pm CT
ABC/ESPN/2
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 5
Wildcats at Northwestern Wildcats
Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 12
Fighting Illini Illinois Fighting Illini (HC)
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
2:30pm CT
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 19
Boilermakers at Purdue Boilermakers
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 26
Gophers Minnesota Golden Gophers
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
TBA Buy
Tickets

*courtesy FBSchedules.com.

vs. LSU Tigers
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

Unanimity runs the day as the Badgers and Tigers enter the hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field for the first D1 college football game in the stadium’s history. It is easy to see why with LSU’s high-powered running game and all the questions surrounding the Badgers offense entering the season. Look for this to be a really telling sign of things to come for both teams regardless of the outcome.

vs. Akron Zips
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

Getting a theme to the non-conference season? While it will be easy to point to a Big Ten-MAC blowout, the Zips aren’t the pushovers they once were after making and winning a bowl game this past season. A trip to Madison and a date with running back Corey Clement are the difference makers here.

vs. Georgia State Panthers
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

Name another Big Ten team with the kind of non-conference schedule like UW’s? That’s right, three straight weeks and three straight bowl participants from the 2015 season. No other Big Ten team can claim that in 2016, but just like the week before, expect the talent gap to be obvious and Wisconsin takes care of business after struggling a bit in the first half.

at Michigan State Spartans
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

If you haven’t been paying attention, here is the start of the reason why the Badgers have arguably the toughest schedule in the country, let alone the Big Ten. Recent trips to East Lansing haven’t been fun for Wisconsin, who are just 7-16 all-time at the home of the Spartans. Don’t expect that to change much unless both teams are struggling to find anything good at quarterback.

at Michigan Wolverines
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

Two weekend in the state of Michigan in a row? What did Wisconsin do to piss off the Big Ten schedule makers, amiright? All four of us have this game as a loss, but for me personally it is about as close to a toss up contest as possible. In fact, these two teams could be the closest to looking in a mirror and seeing each other staring back in the Big Ten. However, asking the Badgers to win back-to-back games on the road is a bit much and in the end I’m sticking with the home team to narrowly escape with victory here.

vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

We have our first split of the season for our staff predictions and it is the most interesting of splits, with the two folks with the biggest ties to the two teams involved (Dave and myself) seeing it happening the same way on the scoreboard. If there’s a team in the Big Ten that Ohio State doesn’t like to play in the past decade, it is Wisconsin. With a bye week between the Michigan and Ohio State games, it is a perfect time for UW to reassess and come out swinging. A night game at Camp Randall against the Buckeyes is a perfect recipe to take a game that most believe isn’t winnable on paper.

at Iowa Hawkeyes
Andy: Win
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Win

Last season this game basically decided the Big Ten West division race, and boy was it boring. This season it may be do-or-die time for the Badgers’ hopes in getting back to Indianapolis. Will Iowa be the team we saw last season or will they do the tradition backslide to the mean under Kirk Ferentz? UW has an 18-24-1 record in Iowa City, but have won each of the last three meetings inside Kinnick Stadium and with Corey Clement fully healthy this one tips the way of the Badgers.

vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

No team has the Huskers number more than the Wisconsin Badgers do, and with this game at home there is little doubt who wins it. Nebraska fans are going to find out quickly that their program is in rebuilding mode, and expect this to be less of the intriguing matchup people believe it is today as the game actually comes closer to happening.

at Northwestern Wildcats
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

This has to be the season the Badgers finally get it done at Ryan Field in Evanston, right? It’s a well-known fact that Wisconsin hasn’t won at Northwestern since 1999 (0-4), but this feels like the time is ripe to make that fact no longer important. The question is, which team will come in to this game with the better defense. With the losses that Northwestern suffered and the proven track record of high-level defense by the Badgers, I’m taking Wisconsin in what should be a very interesting matchup.

vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

UW enters this game on a six-game win streak over the Illini, but don’t let that number fool you. These two teams have played some unexpectedly close games in the past few years. With a new regime in Champaign, all bets could be off this upcoming season. However, it is hard to see Lovie Smith turning that defense in to a run-stopping nightmare for opposing offenses overnight. Look for the Badgers’ run game to be the difference here.

at Purdue Boilermakers
Andy: Win
Dave:  Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

By this point in time the writing of the end of the Darrell Hazell era should be well on the wall, if not already announced. That could be a dangerous thing, but this is Purdue we’re talking about and even the magic that has been it’s ability to cause problems for Wisconsin at home has gone away. Expect a lame duck going up against a team with a real shot at a trip to Indianapolis in this one, and that means a Badgers victory in rather easy fashion.

vs. Minnesota Gophers
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

Some day we’ll be wrong in picking the Wisconsin Badgers over the Minnesota Gophers to retain Paul Bunyan’s Axe. This season won’t be that moment, as UW makes it a Bakers Dozen over their bitter rivals to the West. Call it a feeling, but I expect this to be one of the few times this season that Mitch Leidner isn’t on top of his game and that will make all the difference for a Gophers program that is close, but not close enough to upending the Badgers once again.

 

Season Records

Andy: 9-3 (7-2 B1G)
Dave: 8-4 (6-3 B1G)
Kevin: 7-5 (5-4 B1G)
Zach: 8-4 (6-3 B1G)

Our Projected Big Ten Standings:

Andy Dave Zach Kevin
Big Ten East
1
2 Michigan State Michigan State
3 Michigan State Michigan State
4
5
6 Maryland Maryland
7 Maryland Maryland
Big Ten West
1 Wisconsin
2 Wisconsin Wisconsin Nebraska
3 Nebraska Nebraska  Nebraska Wisconsin
4 Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota
5  Minnesota
6 Purdue
7 Purdue Purdue

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What the Badgers need to work on in the bye week

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Two games, two victories, two shutouts and two record-setting performance. It would be easy to think the 2-0 Wisconsin Badgers football team is riding high in to its early bye week.

But, with the challenge of the Michigan Wolverines just around the corner things are not exactly going to go as planned.

So, with a week off to prepare what are some of the areas of concentration and concern heading in to the matchup with the Wolverines?

Get Healthy

I feel like this is a mantra of any team on a bye week, but after only two games it shouldn’t be that bad. But, guess what, Wisconsin is two games in to the season and the injury gods have not been kind to this team.

On Sunday, we learned that starting safety Scott Nelson will miss the rest of the season with a leg injury.

Late last week we knew that five other players were going to miss the Central Michigan game, with two of those being starters on defense in Bryson Williams and Izayah Green-May.

Now luckily, the depth of this team showed up as true freshman Keeanu Benton (1 TFL) played well in place of Williams and Noah Burks (2 tackles, 1 TFL and 1 pass break up) made it seem like there was nothing missing at outside linebacker.

But, there’s no question that playing with a full group of players against Michigan will be advantageous. Let’s see if the Badgers can get Williams and Green-May healthy and my guess is that they will be able to do just that with nearly three weeks of treatment and testing.

Stay Hungry

One of the things that has been clear so far about this team is that they have been playing with a lot of emotion and edge to them. It’s almost as if they spent an entire offseason stewing over a less-than-stellar performance in 2018 and are bound and determined to not let that happen again.

Whatever was bottled up in the offseason was certainly unleashed in the first two weeks of the season. Can UW find a way to continue to play with that edge and fire now that they have no game this week?

Sometimes the bye week can mess with a team, especially one that is rolling like the Badgers are. But, I have a distinct feeling that motivation and focus are not going to waver at all with this coaching staff in place.

Wisconsin also has the advantage of being the underdog in the matchup with Michigan (at least on paper it will) and has a ton of hungry young players looking to make a name for themselves.

What better way to do that than against Michigan with the whole college football world watching you?

This idea of staying hungry doesn’t worry me in the least, but it would be something to watch coming out of the gate against Michigan. If the Badgers look flat or out of sorts, I’d be worried. If not, then look for Michigan to be in some serious trouble on Sept. 21.

New Wrinkles?

Early on this season, we’ve already seen a lot of Jonathan Taylor the running back, but we’ve also seen a lot of JT23 the receiving back and it has produced glorious results.

Even better is the fact that the Badgers coaching staff hasn’t had to get exotic with the play calling early on this season either. There’s been few sightings of Aron Cruickshank end arounds or double running back sets or anything crazy.

Wisconsin has lined up, punched the opposing defense in the mouth up front and done the basics needed to put points on the board.

It will be interesting to see what wrinkles will be added with the extra time and the opponent at hand. Will the Badgers break out a few things that Michigan won’t be ready for or will they stick to the tried and true and just see what happens?

Pass Protection

If there’s one thing we know about Michigan’s defense is that it is nearly the Badgers equal in aggressiveness. Through two games the Badgers have allowed four sacks on the quarterback.

It may not seem alarming, but last season, UW allowed a total of 24 through 13 games for an average of 1.85 per game and that was a bit of a problem in bigger games. Furthermore, 12 of the 24 sacks came in Wisconsin’s five losses last year.

The good news seems to be that UW is going to get some help for the quarterback spot in avoiding some of those sacks this year. Jack Coan may not be a world-record sprinter, but he has shown to be more comfortable stepping up in the pocket and taking off if needed.

But, the Badgers were not really tested so far in terms of overall talent and did give up three sacks against USF in the opener. On the flip side, the offensive line looked much better against CMU and only one sack happened on the day.

Does that indicate improvement or just how bad the Chippewas were? With an extra week to work on things, lets see how the Badgers offensive line works through any potential issues and any adjustments that may be needed.

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Sunday Morning Hangover: What to make of Coan’s confident start

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By now, Jack Coan isn’t a total newcomer to the starting quarterback role for the Wisconsin Badgers. But, on Saturday he was making his first career start inside Camp Randall Stadium.

All five of his previous starts would come on the road or in a bowl game.

So, how did Coan handle the home crowd and it being a season opener at Camp Randall nonetheless? Judging by his record-setting numbers it was safe to say it was home, sweet home for the junior quarterback.

After passing for over 200 yards for the first time in his career last week against USF, Coan set personal records for passing attempts, completions, yards and touchdown passes in a single game.

It’s hard to get much better than that.

On the day, Coan would go 26 of 33 for 363 yards and 3 touchdowns. Those numbers were the catalyst to the Badgers 61-0 blanking of the visiting Central Michigan Chippewas.

His 363 yards were the fifth best in a single game by any Badgers quarterback. Coan also became just the 11th Badgers QB to throw for 300 or more yards in a game.

Additionally, his 276 yards in the first half were the most ever by any Badgers quarterback in a single half.

That’s some historic territory for anyone to reach.

However, after sleeping on it, I am still left wondering if this is a sign of things to come or a blip on the radar and we’ll never see this again.

Maybe it’s because I can still remember being there in person to witness Coan fumble and bumble his way to a loss at Northwestern last year.

Maybe that’s the Hornibrook affect in me too? After all, we got totally burned by thinking Hornibrook had turned a corner with his great performance in the bowl win over Miami two years ago.

Instead, Hornibrook reverted right back to the inconsistent and at times terrible version that his more extensive body of work told us was likely who he was.

But, here’s why I think we aren’t seeing a blip on the radar with Coan. It’s his confidence and the fact that we’ve seen him go out and do better each and every week he’s been a starter.

We are seeing progress, which we never really did with Hornibrook under center. If you can’t see that Coan is improving, then you aren’t paying attention.

Last week, despite the first ever 200-yard day for Coan, a lot of attention was paid to the missed wide open receivers on vertical routes. What did Coan do about it? He went out this week and showed he could confidently and accurately hit those deep balls.

“I think it’s important, and certainly we’ve got to be able to — we thought coming into the year we’ve got to do a better job of attacking the whole field, and so when you can do that, it’s good, but I think guys have had confidence in it,” said head coach Paul Chryst after the CMU win.

“I know last week we were 0-2 for those “chunk” plays, but he wouldn’t have cut ’em loose today if he didn’t have confidence in it. So I don’t know that doing it in a game makes you more confident, but it was good to see. It’s nice to be able to hit a couple of those, obviously.”

Additionally, Coan’s relationship early on this season with Quintez Cephus has been something special to watch. With virtually no playing time and no extensive practice time together, the duo has seemed totally in sync to start the season.

Cephus has nine receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns through two games. He also is averaging 84.5 yards per game, good for fifth in the Big Ten in this early season.

Just to put the difference between Coan and Honribrook in to some perspective for you. Through two games last year, the Badgers had just 26 receptions as a team. This year, UW already has 50.

Wisconsin also has a total of 16 passes for 15 or more yards on the season. That is a quarter of what the Badgers had (64) all of last year and we’re only two games in to the season.

A.J. Taylor (8), Danny Davis (6), Kendric Pryor (6) and Jake Ferguson (6) have all had major impacts in the pass game too.

It means a diverse and talented group is producing quickly this season.

Of course, the challenge of Michigan’s defense awaits the Badgers offense and it certainly will be a step up in competition from the likes of USF and Central Michigan.

However, the Wolverines also won’t be seeing the same old Wisconsin offense they did for the past few years either.

What Coan has brought to the table through two weeks of play should make Michigan think twice about stacking the box against the run all game long.

Wisconsin finally has an outwardly confident quarterback and it feels so very good.

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WATCH: Recap of Badgers 61-0 victory over Central Michigan

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If you were to draw up a perfect game, well, it would be hard to top what the Wisconsin Badgers put on film on Saturday against the Central Michigan Chippewas.

UW ran, passed and dominated on defense en route to a 61-0 win. What should we take away from this game? What were the highlight moments?

Well of course, Jonathan Taylor scoring four touchdowns in back-to-back games was impressive. But, let our Publisher, Andrew Coppens, get in to the detail in this week’s talkinBadgers recap.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube page, so you don’t miss any of our video work as the season goes on!

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Wisconsin Badgers vs. Central Michigan Chippewas: Preview, Predictions and Prognostications

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We’re back with more in our video work for the Badgers 2019 season. As per usual, our Publisher, Andrew Coppens, is here to give you the lowdown on the matchup between the Wisconsin Badgers and Central Michigan Chippewas.

That means, key players to watch, key stats to keep an eye on and the weekly prediction.

He is 1-0 after nearly nailing the full score last week, so what does this matchup look like?

Let’s get in to the video.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel so you don’t miss a single prediction or post-game reaction for your pleasure.

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