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PENN STATE AT WISCONSIN

 

10/11/08

3* Wisconsin +6 over Penn State - One word comes to mind when we think of Wisconsin. Desperate. It's safe to say the season hangs in the balance this week as JoePa and the Nittany Lions come to town as Wisconsin is in danger of starting 0-3 in the Big 10. The Big 10 title already looks like a lost cause but a loss here would seal that deal. A big time bowl game is also slipping away. All this for a team that was 9-4 a year ago and returned many key pieces to the puzzle from a year ago. This was a decent team a year ago that was only outclassed twice and figured to be improved this year.

What makes it all the more difficult to swallow is that Wisconsin could have won both games they lost this year. They controlled the clock against Michigan and moved the ball on the ground and thru the air for 384 total yards. Ahead 19-0 at the half and 19-7 after 3, they couldn't hold on turning the ball over and allowing 3 Michigan scores in the 4th quarter. Despite their poor performance in the 2nd half they still had chances to win it but failed.

Wisky regrouped to host one of the two teams to outclass them a year ago, Ohio State, last week. Last year saw Ohio State won 38-17. But last week, the game was dead even right across the board. Just about every major category, dead even. It came down to who could make the big plays at the end of the game, and that was Ohio State, scoring on their final drive and then intercepting Allan Evridge on Wisky's final drive to end the game.

Clearly Wisconsin has closed the gap between them and Ohio State. Ohio State, Wisky and Penn State all have similar make ups this year as far as who returned from a year ago. All lost QB's and returned just about everyone else. Both beat Wisky decisively a year ago. Wisky closed the gap one, why not the other.

The 8pm est. start time and the National TV audience only add to the already significant Wisconsin home field advantage. Wisconsin is 41-15 at home this decade. Penn State is 13-25 on the road in that time span. Sure, Penn State had a few down years, but you get the picture. Wisconsin is 5-2 all time at home against Penn State with both losses by 3 points.

 

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The beautiful thing about college football is that with all the close heartbreaking losses and the disappointments that come with them, one win can make everything better. One win can turn an entire season around. A win here and 1-2 in the Big 10 puts them right back into the thick of things and gets them a whole lot of National publicity to boot (always helps the recruiting).

Certainly Penn State looked great their first 4 games this year but the margins tightened a bit once they got into Big 10 play. Illinois played them tough at Penn State with the score 24-17 and the game up for grabs heading into the 4th quarter and they led Purdue just 10-0 at the half last week.

Look for a huge effort from the Badgers this week. Remember, things aren't always what they seem. Already this year we have seen USC, Florida and Georgia go down. Why not upset the apple cart a little more this week. 3* Wisconsin +6  (note - if 6.5 becomes available we'd recommend buying it up to +7)

 

 

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