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GAME THREAD: Wisconsin vs. Michigan

This is basically a must-win, mostly for the psyche of the team and the fan base, so take a deep breath and let’s get down to business! LET’S GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are, right back at it again. The Wisconsin Badgers (1-2 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) are set to host the No. 14 Michigan Wolverines (4-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) on Saturday morning at Camp Randall Stadium. The Badgers are coming off a disheartening blowout against Notre Dame in Chicago and have many questions on offense. The Wolverines are coming off a win against Rutgers that was way closer than they would have liked and have many questions on offense.

This game is RIPE for the losing fan base to fly completely off the handle and, well, hopefully it isn’t us.

Michigan comes into the game with one of the most potent rushing attacks in the country, while the Badgers have the best rushing defense in the country. Michigan’s offensive line basically doesn’t allow sacks or tackles for loss, while the Badgers get into the backfield and wreck shop on a regular basis. Folks, something has gotta give.

In my honest assessment, I don’t think that Michigan has played a defense like Wisconsin’s yet and the Badgers defense will be the best unit on the field. That battle will all come down to Cade McNamara and whether or not he can throw the ball enough to keep UW honest. It will also come down to: will Michigan’s coaches open up the playbook and go away from what has worked for them in the past.

The Wisconsin offense is in complete disarray, but if they clean up one simple thing then they might improve greatly on Saturday. That thing? Ball security. Graham Mertz has been, uh, loose with the ball this year and it has cost Wisconsin dearly in games against Penn State and Notre Dame. There is an argument to be made that the Badgers might’ve beaten the Irish if, on a couple of possessions in the fourth quarter, the Badgers had knelt three times and punted instead of doing ::gestures wildly with hands::.

The weather might not be great. Both teams have a lot of questions. Both fan bases are nervous and fatalistic. This game is primed for a classic Big Ten slog where the announcers are trying to make it sound like an epic defensive battle when in reality the offense are just both inept. Because of all of this, the game might just go the other way and be a 38-35 shootout...but I doubt it.

It’s Barry Alvarez Day and maybe the Badgers can send him off with a better game than when he coached his final game at Camp Randall.

Here are the staff predictions for the game:

Tyler: 17-14, Wisconsin

Owen: 21-17, Michigan

J.J.: 27-20, Wisconsin

Neal: 13-3, Michigan

Belz: 14-13, Michigan

Rock: 10-6, Wisconsin

Kevin: ???

Ryan: 20-10, Wisconsin

Bremen: 8-4, Wisconsin

Jake: ???

Drew: 6-5, Michigan

Here are the depth charts for both teams:

As we’ve mentioned before, Michigan doesn’t release a depth chart before any of their games because they are cowards, but here is what Wisconsin will look like when they lineup on Saturday.

And here is the updated pregame status report for Wisconsin.