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Badger Bits: Time to see what Tolzien, Wisconsin are made of

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After four impressive performances at Camp Randall Stadium, the Badgers now embark on a two-game road trip that will tell them exactly how good they really are.  Road games have been a struggle for the Badgers, particularly under Bret Bielema.  In fact, one could argue the Badgers' abnormally sub-par play away from Madison is the single thing keeping them from becoming elite.  Wisconsin is 34-3 at Camp Randall Stadium dating back to 2004.  But in the five full seasons that have passed since then, including three undefeated campaigns at home, the Badgers have failed to capture even a share of the Big Ten title.  They will not accomplish that feat any time soon if the recent trend - a 4-8 record away from home since 2007 - continues.  Those four wins are not at all impressive, either, coming against UNLV, Fresno State, a one-win Minnesota team and a last-place Indiana squad.

It will be interesting to see how a relatively young team approaches the challenge of playing in hostile environments the next two Saturdays.  While Scott Tolzien has been nothing short of brilliant thus far, he is still a first-time starter and has not been under the kind of pressure he will face in Minneapolis and in Columbus.

The Minnesota game will be a good first road test for Wisconsin.  While it will be the first Big Ten game played in the new TCF Bank Stadium and it is the oldest rivalry in college football, do not expect the atmosphere to be too overwhelming.  This is still an arena with a relatively low capacity of 50,000 and Minnesota football is still Minnesota football, perennially in the shadow of the NFL's Vikings.  The 11 a.m. kickoff aids the Badgers, as it ensures the fans will have less time to pregame, and Wisconsin has already kicked off at that hour three times this season.  If the Badgers can pull one out against the Gophers, all eyes will be on the Horseshoe next week for a showdown against the Buckeyes.  And then we will really see what Wisconsin is made of.


Here are your Badger Bits for Friday. - Badgers and Gophers set to battle for the Axe - First & Goal: Oct. 2 - Making up for lost time - Alvarez on Big Ten Quad tonight - More than one rivalry Saturday - UW's Tolzien is spreading the wealth - Schofield weighs options against Gophers right tackle - A few more UW-Minnesota predictions - Staff predictions: UW football at Minnesota - Sorensen eyes healthy return - UW football notes: Bielema wants to get Ball rolling - Badgers' offensive line faces big challenge - U's Nick Tow-Arnett: Grunt work, great results - Breathalyzer test awaits students busted at TCF Bank Stadium - Pawlenty, Doyle wagering on weekend football - Big Ten blog: Big Ten lunch links - Big Ten blog: Big Ten spotlight: Wisconsin's Scott Tolzien - Big Ten blog: Breaking down the Big Ten backup quarterbacks - Big Ten blog: Gophers, Badgers meet with Axe to grind