So I bet you're wondering what exactly's going to happen in the second half of the season, right? How will this go down? Are the Wisconsin Badgers going to lose a lot? Are the Badgers going to lose to Purdue?
They're not losing to Purdue.
But there are still six games and the postseason between where I left you and where we're going. If I may be completely serious for a moment, let's get it going. Because I'm not going to explain the universe to you.
Oct. 25 vs. Maryland
Likely case: It's Homecoming and Maryland aims to spoil it. A talented receiving corps (if you don't know about Stefon Diggs, you really should) and a decent front seven keep the Terrapins in the game for three quarters, but the Badgers' running and some sweet sweet play-action passing wear them down eventually. The youth goes out and gets the Badgers a fun homecoming victory.
Best case: Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown is a talented dual threat, but his accuracy can wobble. He goes out and struggles to complete over 50 percent of his passes, and the Badgers are successful in snagging an interception or two. The Badger fans go out and tear down a goal post to celebrate the big homecoming win with a celebratory march to dump the goal post in Lake Mendota.
Worst case: With a deep, talented wide receiving corps including a next-level talent in Diggs, the Badgers' secondary and their inconsistency rears its ugly head. Maryland passes well enough to force the Badgers to have to come back through the air. They don't, and Badger fans tear down Joel Stave's psyche and toss it into Lake Mendota.
Nov. 1 at Rutgers
Likely case: The Badgers win comfortably. Rutgers has the sort of pass defense where people just tend to get open. Stave has a good game, and that allows the Badgers to get the holes on the old running game. Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova is turnover-prone, and this comes out in a game where the Scarlet Knights just don't get out of the blocks. Booing occurs. Lustily booing.
Best case: Wisconsin's size on the offensive line turns into a decided advantage from jump street. Rutgers has a game front seven, but it's small. Stave eats last season's 121st-ranked pass defense alive. The Badgers attack the Scarlet Knight offense from all angles and they bring in the backups in the fourth quarter because the em' downs married the beat.
Worst case: Rutgers' offensive line improved. You didn't see it coming, but Nova has time to throw. The Badgers struggle to get their running game going. Janarion Grant returns a kick for a score, and when Rob Wheelwright takes a pass off the helmet and it lands in Andre Boggs' hands, the Badgers lose on their former recruit taking it to the house.
Nov. 8 at Purdue
Likely case: It's going to be a breather for the Badgers before the schedule going into their final three. Purdue's improved from last year, but after losing by an average of 23 points, the Badgers could send the B-team to Ross-Ade Stadium and still pull off a victory. I mean, Cody Webster was the Boilermakers' best piece on offense last year. He's their punter.
Best case: Bart Houston gets to see the field. Austin Ramesh gets to see the field. The Badgers are merciful, and don't attempt to beat the Boilermakers down by 60. The fact that they get close is just because their defense breaks after it bends so much.
Worst case: Like I said: Wisconsin's not losing to Purdue, which did nonetheless almost get Notre Dame last year. Don't think it can't happen here; the Boilermakers could scare some fools.
Nov. 15 Nebraska
Likely case: The Cornhuskers' inexperienced lines give the Badgers an advantage. They can lean on avoiding defensive end Randy Gregory and getting a push. They can attack and at least somewhat contain running back Ameer Abdullah. Wide receiver Kenny Bell is good, but on the whole, Nebraska's passing game is mercurial. Wisconsin wins in a matchup that's as fun as saying the word "mercurial."
Best case: It's awfully hard to come up with a mega-happy ending for this game. The Badgers have had a tendency to lap the absolute hell out of the Cornhuskers, so how about this one: Wisconsin spots Nebraska 21 points in the first quarter, and then scores 56 unanswered. Melvin Gordon is worth 36 points by himself.
Worst case: The Badgers lead by two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter when the 7-3 Cornhuskers have news break that they used an ineligible player for the McNeese State game. This turns them into a 6-4 team. Almost instantly, they return a fumble for a touchdown, recover an onside kick and score a touchdown to tie the game. They win in overtime on a play designed by celebrity fan Lawrence the Cable Man. They do not lose again for the season.
Nov. 22 at Iowa
Likely case: This is the game Corey Clement makes his bones. Iowa returns a very strong defensive line, able to be tough against the run. The Badgers, though, were able to wear down the defense with a very impressive power running game from James White last season. Clement's a more powerful back, and when you consider that the linebackers from 2013 are gone from Iowa, Wisconsin could get some holes broken in the second half playing big-on-big, two rams fighting, football.
Best case: There is no rule saying a horse can't play football. The Badgers, needing an emergency kicker, go to a young horse to place kick a field goal. It's good. The crowd cheers, and Iowa fans are so sad.
(If you need this explained, message @Adam_Jacobi. He'll be happy to help.)
Worst case: The AIRBHG seems to have a piss-poor practice going into this game. Gordon gets hit with a pre-game runaway cart. Clement goes down to some bad pre-game clams. Taiwan Deal gets hit by the Badgers' field goal-kicking horse, and after Ramseh sprains his ankle, Wisconsin loses after Dan Voltz gets confused and snaps the ball between Stave and Tanner McEvoy.
Nov. 29 Minnesota
Likely case: This is the Gophers' Super Bowl. They'll be well-prepared, but the passing game is still young and inexperienced, and the defense likely didn't replace the star power of Brock Vereen and Ra'Shede Hageman. It's not a blowout, but the Badgers are a better team at home and they make it 11 straight and 18 out of their last 20 in the rivalry.
Best case: After the Gophers acted like sore loser men when the Badgers won in Minneapolis last year, the Badgers come out with a little bit more moxie and vigor. Gordon has his final statement of purpose for the Heisman Trophy. Sojourn Shelton gets to 10 interceptions, Vince Biegel gets to 10 sacks and the Badgers threaten to get to 50 points.
Worst case: Minnesota tight end Nate Wozniak is 6'10. The Gophers get near the goal line and Mitch Leidner gets to roll out, run-pass option and loft it up to the Wozniak. He gets four touchdowns and the Badger fans have to hear about the Golden Gophers winning national titles back when sexagenarians were kids I love Minnesota, but that's not going to be fun for anyone.
Likely case: Wisconsin wins the West Division and give Ohio State a game effort in the Big Ten championship game, but they ultimately fall short. A return matchup in Florida vs. LSU is in the future. They get a satisfying result there.
Best case: WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, MY FRIEND, AND WE'LL KEEP ON FIIIGHTING TIL THE END! NO TIME FOR LOSERS, CAUSE WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL!
Worst case: No Big Ten title game. In fact, it's a rematch with Bowling Green, and this time, Bowling Green gets a flat-as-heck (pardon my French) Badger squad, and it's a little bit of a beat 'em down.