The 19th ranked Northwestern Wildcats will visit the Wisconsin Badgers this weekend in a flipped script of the “norm”. Usually it’s the Badgers that are ranked and trying to fend off the team with something to prove, but this week it’s Wisconsin trying to prove something.
With a healthy Melvin Gordon ready to go against the Cats and after watching Buckeyes running back Carlos Hyde go off against that purple defense in Evanston, it certainly looks difficult for Northwestern. Gordon has already rushed for 698 and 2 touchdowns (averaging a first down every time he touches the football), while his backfield mates James White and Corey Clement have rushed for 473 and 334 yards, respectively.
Each team’s last loss came at the hands of Ohio State and this game figures to be a chance for either to stay in the Big Ten title race. The Wildcats still control their own destiny and if they win out would end up in the conference championship game, while Wisconsin now needs quite a bit of help that doesn’t look likely to come. They would need OSU to lose twice in the remainder of the season, which would include multiple upsets.
The fact is though that Wisconsin is extremely difficult to beat at home and has had two weeks to prepare. They possess the conference’s 2nd ranked offense and defense and will be very physical with the Cats.
If there is one thing that could flip this game in Northwestern’s favor it would be turnovers, as the Wildcats are the best team in the conference to this point in turnover margin, with a +5 margin. The problem then, is that Wisconsin does not turn the ball over, with only 5 so far. The numbers and common sense say Wisconsin runs away with this one at home.