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Fifth Quarter Consensus: Badgers run wild over Rebels

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The Predictions:

Adam Hoge: Wisconsin 41-13

Jake Harris: Wisconsin 31-20

Adam Tupitza: Wisconsin 31-16

John Veldhuis: Wisconsin 35-10

Wild Card Pick: Jeremy Mauss (Mountain West Connection): Wisconsin 41-17

The Reasoning:

The Badgers begin what many fans hope will be a special season in the desert against a shaky UNLV team. The Runnin' Rebels went 5-7 a year ago and subsequently fired their head coach, Mike Sanford. Bobby Hauck takes over after leading Montana to a 80-17 record in seven seasons.

The Rebels struggled against the run last year, giving up over 220 yards per game on the ground. That is good news for Wisconsin, which boasts three strong running backs, led by Heisman dark horse John Clay, and one of the nation's best offensive lines.

Expect the Badgers to use all three running backs, build an early lead and then protect their starters from injury. History suggests this game could be closer than it should be. Wisconsin needed a late touchdown from Tyler Donovan to win by seven in Las Vegas in 2007. The Badgers' struggles on the road subsided a bit last year but have been well documented during the Bielema era. Furthermore, the game begins at 10 p.m. Central time, which means it will feel like playing in the middle of the night for Wisconsin's players.

Still, if Wisconsin is truly a great team this year, as players, coaches and fans believe, this win will be convincing. Expect the Badgers to emerge from Sin City a very confident 1-0.

Who has the edge?

Offense: Wisconsin

Defense: Wisconsin

Special Teams: Wisconsin

Coaching: Wisconsin

Intangibles: Wisconsin


-Jake Harris