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Fifth Quarter Consensus: Badgers maul Coyotes

The Predictions:

Sam Zastrow (+60): Wisconsin 62, South Dakota 3

Adam Hoge (+61): Wisconsin 55, South Dakota 6

Jake Harris (+63): Wisconsin 65, South Dakota 10

John Veldhuis (+65): Wisconsin 65, South Dakota 10

Chuck Schwartz (+72): Wisconsin 54, South Dakota 10

Phil Mitten (+78): Wisconsin 56, South Dakota 6

The Reasoning

These are the games most college football fans wish would just go away, the result of deals between big schools in power conferences and overmatched FCS opponents. Wisconsin gets an easy win before the start of Big Ten play and a third profitable non-conference home game; South Dakota gets some money for its athletic department, and that apparently is worth the cost of public humiliation.

Through three games, Wisconsin legitimately looks like one of the best teams in the country. The Badgers are 11th in the nation in scoring at 45 points per game and, much more surprisingly, rank fourth in the country in points allowed, giving up just eight points per contest. The schedule has not been particularly challenging, although UNLV routed Hawaii last week and Northern Illinois was not considered a patsy until after the Badgers dominated on Saturday.

It is not presumptuous to say the Coyotes (2-1) don't stand a chance at Camp Randall Stadium. They lost to Air Force, the only other FBS team on their schedule, in a game in which they trailed 37-7 heading into the fourth quarter. Senior quarterback Dante Warren threw three interceptions in the loss. While this is the team that famously won at Minnesota last season, head coach Ed Meierkort was correct in pointing out that the Golden Gophers are not the Badgers.

South Dakota's base defense is a 3-4 and its defensive linemen average just 264 pounds. Expect the Badgers, who pile up over 238 rushing yards per game, to have another big day on the ground. Montee Ball will likely add to his FBS-leading eight touchdowns, while James White might even improve on his team-leading 5.8 yards per rush.

The Coyotes will be a motivated bunch, especially with several players who hail from the state of Wisconsin on the roster. If only motivation by itself won football games.

With the result a foregone conclusion, this game will be a success for the Badgers if no one gets hurt and the backups get valuable experience throughout the second half.

Who has the edge?

Offense: Wisconsin

Defense: Wisconsin

Special Teams: Wisconsin

Coaching: Wisconsin

Intangibles: Wisconsin

Fun Facts

Just six of Wisconsin's 31 straight regular season non-conference wins have come against BCS opponents.

South Dakota's defensive coordinator is former Wisconsin defensive end Jake Sprague.