The No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers (1-1 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) are coming off of a bye week and are ready to take on No. 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-0 overall) at Soldier Field in Chicago. FOX’s Big Nude Kickoff show is there. ESPN’s College GameDay is there. Jack freaking Coan is there! It’s going to be quite the time.
Welcome to Soldier Field pic.twitter.com/e8s8iQM4Ik— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) September 24, 2021
(Important fashion side note: those Forward hoodies are doooooooooopppppppppe)
Since the game against the Irish was postponed last season, I feel like we’ve been talking about this matchup for easily three decades. While I’m quite excited to watch the actual game, I’m almost more excited to not have to talk about or think about Notre Dame again until 2026.
This should be a defensive slug-fest between two teams whose offenses have looked mostly like ass so far this season. The best unit on the field will be the Wisconsin defense, but you could argue that the Wisconsin offense is the worst unit of the four. At best, the offense is tied for third. If Paul Chryst has actually been saving up some plays for later in the season, this game would be the time to show some new wrinkles.
It would be nice to see Graham Mertz uncork a couple of deep balls (away from Kyle Hamilton, obvs) to give the Irish something to think about and maybe even make a big play! Notre Dame has lived off of big plays on offense this year, something that the Badgers defense doesn’t give up often, so it’ll be an interesting chess match between Coan and a defense he has firsthand knowledge of.
Welp, enough talk. LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS!
Here are the staff predictions for the game:
Tyler: 21-14, Wisconsin
Owen: 23-20, Wisconsin
J.J.: 21-17, Notre Dame
Neal: 20-17, Wisconsin
Belz: 21-17, Wisconsin
Rock: 18-12, Wisconsin
Kevin: 24-20, Wisconsin
Ryan: 24-13, Wisconsin
Bremen: 22-17, Wisconsin
Drew: 24-21, Wisconsin
Here are the depth charts for both teams:
And here is the updated availability list for the Badgers: