We are into conference play and the Big Ten has quite the match up this week as Michigan takes on Wisconsin. Both have playoff hopes this early in the season, but the winner will likely knock the loser out of the race. With that said, bet the house on Wisconsin.
Stagnant Michigan Offense
Michigan has been nothing short of horrible this year on offense. The Wolverines currently sit at 98th in yards per play. Meanwhile the Wisconsin defense hasn’t allowed a point this year. While USF and Central Michigan are not great teams, back-to-back shutouts are impressive.
Michigan on the other hand not only struggles to move the ball, they struggle to hold onto it. Through two games Michigan has fumbled eight times, losing five of them.
Shea Patterson is proving to the entire country that he isn’t the QB that Michigan faithful thought they were getting. The Freshman running back is a bit banged up off the bye week and he is going to get hit early and often today. Wisconsin is only allowing 20 yards rushing and 87 yards passing per game. Again, not the greatest opponents but that is an impressive stat line for playing against two FBS programs. Add in the fact that Patterson can’t move the offense or hang onto the ball against the likes of Army and started poorly against Middle Tennessee State.
On the other side is an improvement from last year at QB and a Heisman contender at running back. Taylor and the Badger offense average 216 yards rushing and 4.5 touchdowns a game. Coan has been a better thrower than Hornibrook to this point as well. This is a Wisconsin team that has been building confidence and has a player that can take over a game. While Michigan has a talented defense, they still have their hands full today.
Wisconsin has the talent to score and they take care of the ball. They won’t put up 42 on Michigan, but they don’t have to. As Army was able to prove, ball control and solid defense was effective against Michigan. While Army is a good team, Wisconsin is a borderline great team. Michigan needs to be at their best today, but that isn’t likely with Harbaugh.
Wisconsin Is A Lock
Harbaugh is a very talented coach, one of the best. But he also has struggled in a few areas. He can’t beat Ohio State, hasn’t won in Madison and hasn’t won as an underdog. He will face two of the three today.
Wisconsin at -3 is an easy bet and one I feel comfortable locking up. Michigan will get exposed and the playoff run will skid to a halt.
Wisconsin 24 – Michigan 17
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Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Covering all things college football and talking Notre Dame on Twitter.