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Wisconsin Badgers Football Preview: Predicting the 2016 season

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

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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