Wisconsin at Minnesota
Saturday, 12:30 pm PT - Big Ten Network
CRIS Opener: Wisconsin -2.5 O/U NL
CRIS Current: Wisconsin -2.5 O/U NL
It's a Big Ten classic rivalry match-up as the Minnesota Golden Gophers take on the Wisconsin Badgers in the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe. The Gophers beat Illinois 32-26 at home last week and now need just one more victory to become bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive year. It's been a rough one for Minnesota with Jerry Kill forced to retire and countless injuries throughout the season. Quarterback Mitch Leidner said he will play despite injuring his hand and foot against the Illini.
Wisconsin comes into the game 8-3 after dropping a 13-7 decision to Northwestern in their home finale. The Badgers thought they had the game won but the would-be game winning touchdown was overturned. They were eliminated from Big Ten West contention prior to that game. Wisky's claim to fame this season has been its defense with some of the best numbers in the country. The schedule however (71st SOS) comes up light particularly in the Big Ten where they avoided Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State as well as Indiana which leads the Big Ten in total offense (448.7 ypg) in league play. Minnesota meanwhile has played the far tougher slate (28th SOS) and showed well in spread covering losses to Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa.
From a straight up perspective, Wisconsin has owned the recent series with 11 consecutive wins. The Gophers however have covered six of the last eight. During that stretch, there was a clear gap between the two programs but despite this year’s overall records, the Badgers have taken a big step back. In my opinion, this is an even matchup which gets me to the window with the home underdog.