So we did this last year and it worked out. I went out on a limb and said Wisconsin would win nine games in the regular season and they did.
This year, every ounce of sense in my head is telling me Wisconsin will have two losses in the regular season. The Badgers always seem to lose at least one game it shouldn't (usually on the road), which is in fact why I only had them winning nine last season.
But I truely believe this team will not only be better this season, but they will also be smarter and more focused. I don't expect them to roll into Iowa and come away with a win, but I also don't expect them to blow another 19-0 lead at Michigan.
Let's roll through the schedule:
Sept. 4 - at UNLV: Win
This was a close game when UW went out to Vegas in 2007. But the Badgers are better this year and UNLV has one of the worst defenses in the country - especially against the run.
Sept. 11 - San Jose State: Win
Hey, give the Spartans credit for scheduling. Before they go to Wisconsin, they play at Alabama. Bold, but also a good way to start 0-2.
Sept. 18 - Arizona State: Win
Last year Wisconsin had Northern Illinois and Hawaii on the schedule, two teams that were very good when the games were booked, but not so good by the time the game rolled around. That same thing happens this year with Arizona State, which could finish last in the Pac 10.
Sept. 25 - Austin Peay: Win
The Badgers' toughest challenge this this one? Figuring out that it's pronounced "Austin Pea".
Oct. 2 - at Michigan State: Win
This is one of those swing games that will either end up making or breaking the season. Looking back at 2008, the Badgers blew a fourth quarter lead and suffered one of many crushing blows that year. The Badgers should be failed and they must deliver on the road.
Oct. 9 - Minnesota: Win
You'll see the Gophers give their best effort in their biggest rivalry game, but I fully expect UW to make it seven in row over Minnesota. The Badgers just can't get caught looking ahead to the following weekend.
Oct. 16 - Ohio State: Win
Here it is, the game everyone is waiting for. Both teams should be undefeated and unlike in 2008 when the Badgers let Terelle Pryor steal a night game win at Camp Randall, the UW offense steps up in the fourth quarter and delivers.
Oct. 23 - at Iowa: Loss
While I expect the Badgers to play better on the road this season, Iowa's defense is just too good and they will shut down a potent UW offense like this did at Camp Randall last season. This will be close, but the Badgers lose their first game of 2010.
Nov. 6 - at Purdue: Win
Like 2009, four very winnable games remain after a loss to Iowa. This one will be set up a lot like UW's trip to Northwestern last season and we know how that worked out. But Wisconsin will have an extra week to prepare for Purdue and remember what they did to the Boilermakers last year after having an extra week?
Nov. 13 - Indiana: Win
Wisconsin's recent track record against Indiana at home says it all. This should be a blowout.
Nov. 20 - at Michigan: Win
Here's a game that should worry Badger fans everywhere. When a team hasn't won at a venue in 16 years, there are weird fluky elements that work against you. Maybe that explains what happened in 2008 when the Badgers blew a 19-0 halftime lead. It's hard to tell if Michigan will put it together this season and my guess is that they won't. Wisconsin gets its first win at Michigan since 1994.
Nov. 27 - Northwestern: Win
The bad news is that the Wildcats might be playing for a bowl berth here. The good news is that if Wisconsin is really 10-1 coming into this game, they might be playing for the Rose Bowl or even the BCS title game. The Badgers will close the season strong.
Overall outlook: 11-1 (7-1 Big Ten)
I don't expect any team to run the table in the Big Ten so a 7-1 record would like tie the Badgers with Iowa and/or Ohio State. So then the tiebreakers come into play. Either way, 11-1 should be good enough to put the Badgers in a BCS bowl game.
But dare I bring up 2006 when the Badgers were 11-1 and couldn't go to a BCS game because Ohio State and Michigan already earned BCS berths? The difference that year was that Wisconsin didn't have the chance to play and beat the Buckeyes. If they do so this year, it would be hard to leave the Badgers out of the BCS.