The good news for a game like Wisconsin vs. Michigan — teams both ranked in the top 25 — is that there are a lot of predictions to be found around the web.
The bad news, at least for Badgers fans, is you really need to dig to find people picking UW to win. Oh, they’re out there, but it’s definitely the exception not the rule.
This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, as Wisconsin is now being listed as a 9 1/2-point underdog on the road.
Wisconsin fans, of course, are a tad more optimistic … although not everyone, as you can see below.
Here’s this week’s picks from around the web and Twitter:
The Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo: Michigan 28 Wisconsin 17.
Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Michigan 27, Wisconsin 23. “[T]he Badger O is going against the No. 1 defense in college football, and the D doesn’t have the secondary to come up with the big stops on the key pass plays. Pick against this Badger team with this much experience at your own peril, but [Shea] Patterson will be too good when he has to be.”
Nick Baumgardner of the Detroit Free Press: Michigan 21, Wisconsin 17. “Wisconsin’s defense hasn’t looked the part, but it’s still on Michigan’s offensive line to prove the last five weeks weren’t a fluke. If Patterson gets some time, Michigan’s going to score. Wisconsin can pound the ball and might have more success than some think, thanks to the poor health of Michigan’s defensive front. But if Jim Harbaugh continues to expand this offense at the pace he has already set, Michigan wins.”
Bill Bender of The Sporting News: Michigan 26, Wisconsin 21.
Josh Slagter of MLive.com: Michigan 30, Wisconsin 14. “On one hand, Wisconsin has one of the nation’s top running backs (Jonathan Taylor) and a veteran QB (Alex Hornibrook) with a knack for a big throw. On the other, this isn’t the Badgers defense you’re used to watching. Iowa and Nebraska both averaged more than 7 yards per play the last two games, the Cornhuskers racking up 500-plus yards of offense. This game is close only if Shea Patterson and the offense get off to another slow start. Michigan’s defense should be plenty charged up at the chance to stop Taylor. The first of three straight tests, and a big performance could be a huge boost overall. ”
Zac Al-Khateeb of The Sporting News: Michigan 27, Wisconsin 20.
Bruce Feldman of The Athletic ($): Michigan 27, Wisconsin 17. “The Big House at night will not be easy for the Badgers, but they do have plenty of big stage experience. I was very tempted to go with the Badgers especially after seeing how much sharper Alex Hornibrook is away from Madison the past two years. His TD-INT ratio is 15-12 and yet away it’s 17-5. My hunch here, though, is that Shea Patterson and the Wolverines deliver an impressive showing against a good team. It feels like Michigan is due for a breakout kind of game.”
Stewart Mandel of The Athletic ($): Michigan 34, Wisconsin 24. “At this point, whenever Michigan plays at home, I expect the Wolverines to win comfortably, as opposed to when they leave Ann Arbor and lose/struggle. Whether Badgers star Jonathan Taylor (169.8 YPP) gets his yards against coordinator Don Brown’s stout D, Karan Higdon and the Wolverines’ offense are well-equipped to exploit Wisconsin’s surprisingly leaky 100th-ranked defense.”
Steven Lassan of Athlon Sports: Michigan 27, Wisconsin 20. “Michigan has been trending in the right direction and getting better every week after losing to Notre Dame in the opener. Wisconsin rebounded from its loss to BYU by going on the road and winning in a tough road environment at Iowa. Additionally, with both teams needing to win out to have a shot at the CFB Playoff, there’s no shortage of storylines to watch on Saturday night. The Wolverines may not keep Taylor in check all night, but Harbaugh’s defense does just enough. The difference in the game will be the play of Patterson and Michigan’s offense against a rebuilding Wisconsin defense.”
Athon Sports’ Mitch Light: Michigan 27, Wisconsin 17.
Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register: Michigan 20, Wisconsin 17. “Wisconsin’s defense is allowing 6.0 yards per play, compared to Michigan’s 3.7. That — plus a mountain of sharp betting money that moved the line from its opening 6½ — would seem to tip the scales heavily in the Wolverines’ favor. But one trend tells us this should be a tight one. Since Paul Chryst took over in 2015, Wisconsin has never been beaten by a Big Ten opponent by more than seven points. And he’s 15-1, straight up, in road games.”
The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel: Wisconsin 21, Michigan 19.
David Kenyon of Bleacher Report: Michigan 24, Wisconsin 17. “Michigan boasts the stingiest defense in the country (230.5 total yards allowed per game), and Wisconsin is consistently strong in the trenches. The key difference, though, is the Badgers have a banged-up secondary. The Wolverines will win if quarterback Shea Patterson leads three touchdown drives.”
Jesse Temple of The Athletic ($): Michigan 27, Wisconsin 17. ” Wisconsin players say they embrace being an underdog because it hasn’t happened much recently. To pull off a victory, Wisconsin will have to play its best game of the season and hope Michigan plays something less than its dominant defense. That’s a tough task for the Badgers.”
Al “Big Al’ Arend of the Herald-Palladium: Michigan 31, Wisconsin 21.
Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: Michigan 27, Wisconsin 13. “Don’t let anybody fool you, these Badgers are still a challenge, even if they have no secondary, no pass rush and few fancy playmakers. They do have Jonathan Taylor, who leads the nation in rushing, and an offensive line capable of bench-pressing a school bus. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook doesn’t have the acclaim of Shea Patterson, but he still could make it quite the donnybrook. Per its standard big-game strategy, Michigan plans to jump out to a quick deficit, commit a couple gaffes, then adjust its top-ranked defense and force punts on 12 consecutive possessions. I swear, it’s gonna work this time!”
Of three other Detroit News writers, one (yes, one) picks Wisconsin to win. The scores: Angelique S. Chengelis – Michigan 28-17; Mark Charboneau – Wisconsin 24-20; John Niyo – Michigan 31-14.
Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times: Wisconsin 24, Michigan 17. “One potential edge for the home team: the legs of Patterson, who has a knack for keeping plays alive that could come in extra-handy against a Badgers defense that has struggled to create consistent pressure on quarterbacks. Young Katie [Harbaugh] might even call it the key to the game.”
Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press: Michigan 24, Wisconsin 17.
Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Leader: Michigan 24, Wisconsin 17.
Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Michigan 24, Wisconsin 17.
John Clay and Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader: Clay – Wisconsin 20, Michigan 14; Roberts – Michigan 27, Wisconsin 23.
Joe Vozzelli of the Champaign News-Gazette: Michigan 30, Wisconsin 28.
Brad Crawford and Chris Hummer of 247 Sports: Crawford — Michigan 31, Wisconsin 24; Hummer — Michigan 35, Wisconsin 27.
Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com: Michigan 27, Wisconsin 24.
Bill Connelly of SB Nation: His S&P+ projection has it Michigan 35, Wisconsin 25.
Seven of the eight analysts at SI.com think Michigan will emerge with a victory. The lone exception is Eric Single (who it should be noted has the worst winning pick percentage among the eight so far this year). Joan Niesen writes: “Both teams have steadied after unfortunate nonconference losses, and both are fighting for their respective Big Ten divisions. They’re incredibly evenly matched, although Michigan’s Shea Patterson is looking better each week at quarterback, and with that in mind, the slight edge goes to the home favorites.”
The six analysts at USAToday.com are split — three pick Wisconsin, three pick Michigan.
All 17 — 17!! — ESPN reporters think Michigan will win.
Only two of nine analysts for the Dallas Morning News have the Badgers winning but, hey, seven think Wisconsin will cover a spread in which it gets seven points.
The six reporters and editors at the Los Angeles Times are split. The scores: Ben Bolch, Michigan 31-24; Mike Hiserman, Wisconsin 27-21; J. Brady McCollough, Michigan 27-20; Blake Richardson, Wisconsin 33-28; Angel Rodriguez, Wisconsin 24-21; David Wharton, Michigan 21-17.
All three Athlon Sports analysts are once again aligned, but this time they are all picking Wisconsin to lose.
Just one of the three analysts at FootballScoop.com picks Wisconsin to win.
All three at The Oregonian/OregonLive.com pick Michigan to win. The scores: Ken Goe, 34-28; Sean Meagher, 34-33; Joel Odom, 27-17.
Five of 14 over at the Louisville Courier-Journal pick Wisconsin to win.