Michigan finally gets a test this weekend, or at least that’s the thought. Wisconsin already has two top-10 wins to its name, most recently a huge win in East LAnsing. Now traveling an hOur south of that for Ann Arbor, the Badgers have to repeat that performance. And with how Michigan has looked in the early going, that’s going to be extremely difficult. The Wolverines opened as a large -10 point favorite and are currently -10.5.
This line is either a representation of Wisconsin being underrated or Michigan being overrated and we’ll soon know what the case is. The Wolverines haven’t been tested yet this season and now get their fifth straight home Game to open the campaign. Their hardest Game was against Colorado and they were actually on the ropes until the Buffaloes’s starting quarterback got hurt. In their Big Ten opener, it was smooth sailing against an overmatched Penn State squad.
Wisconsin has had a harder Schedule, there’s no doubt about that. They took down LSU in Green Bay in the opener and then barely beat Georgia State before carving up the Spartans last weekend. That said, the 30-6 Scoreline against MSU is a result of costly turnovers and the Spartans not being able to climb out of a hole. If the Badgers didn’t return a fumble for a touchdown early in the third quarter, things could’ve looked a lot different.
The main thing for this Game is that Michigan hasn’t seen a defense as good as Wisconsin’s yet. But on the other end of that, Wisconsin hasn’t really seen a good offense, unless you label LSU’s or MSU’s as good.
But in truth, it’s still an unknown if the Wolverines have a good offense or not. Wilton Speight has been fine at quarterback, but he hasn’t really been challenged. And when he was faced with adversity in the Colorado Game, he struggled a bit completing 53.3% of his passes for 229 yards. If the Badgers can stick around in the first half, things could get interesting.
The one area of the Game that Michigan didn’t have last season is on the ground. They ran for a ridiculous 326 yards and six touchdowns in the win over Penn State and will look to do the same here. But Wisconsin has seen some great rushing teams with them already taking care of Leonard Fournette and LJ SCott.
If the run Game isn’t there for the Wolverines, does Speight have it in him to open this Game up and to cover the 10 points?
But on the other end, it’ll also be interesting to see if Alex Hornibrook can back up his play from last week. He only finished with 195 yards, but still made plenty of timely throws against the Spartans. And if Corey Clement or Dare Ogunbowale can’t find room on the ground, they’ll need Hornibrook to have a similar Game.
The 10-point line seems a bit lofty considering the Wolverines have beat up on weaker teams so far, but they are a public team so it makes sense. If Wisconsin can limit what UM does on the ground, this one may come down to which defense forces more turnovers. The Badgers won that battle against MSU last weekend and will hope to do the same here. Speight needs to take care of the ball for the Wolverines, and if not, this one may be decided late in the Fourth quarter.
This Game figures to be fairly low scoring (posted total of 44 and Our model agrees), which should make that +10.5 loom large. Wisconsin +10.5