Adam Hoge: Wisconsin 17, Fresno State 13
Eric Levine: Wisconsin 31, Fresno State 21
Jake Harris: Wisconsin 27, Fresno State 21
Fresno State is a good team capable of competing for a WAC title and returning to its third straight bowl game. The Bulldogs return 15 starters from a team that nearly beat Wisconsin in Fresno last year. Both teams were ranked in that game but when it was all said and done, both teams finished 7-6. Fresno State lost its quarterback and incumbant QB Ryan Colburn is relatively unproven and didn't have to throw much last week against UC-Davis. Eight starters return on defense, but its a defense that gave up 210 rushing yards a game a year ago. UW should be able to run the ball down the Bulldogs' throat and hang on for a close win.
Who has the edge?
Inexperienced junior quarterbacks, depth at running back and new faces on the offensive lines. These two teams are very similar on offense. Fresno has a leg up at WR with senior Seyi Ajirotutu, but Wisconsin has the edge at tight end with Garrett Graham.
Fresno State has a much more experienced defense, but these guys gave up 31 points per game last year. Dominating UC-Davis isn't enough proof that things have changed. Meanwhile, UW's defense looked better than expected last week despite giving up two fourth quarter touchdowns.
Special Teams: Wisconsin
Bulldogs' kicker Kevin Goessling missed three field goals in last year's contest against Wisconsin. Phillip Welch missed two last week against Northern but one was a 55-yarder.
It's hard to argue with what Pat Hill has done at Fresno State but Bret Bielema did come into Hill's house last season and win. Of couse, Bielema didn't look like the same head coach the rest of the year. We'll call it a tie.
Intangibles: Fresno State
Never thought I would see the day where Wisconsin didn't have the edge in intangibles at home, but the massive flu bug that hit the team this week has left plenty of question marks as to who will even play Saturday. Most of the team was limited in practice this week and fatigue could be a huge concern for the Badgers.