Enter a raucous Camp Randall crowd. Enter questionable weather that could include snow. Enter two 8-2 teams looking to get to a New Year's Six bowl. That's what you have this weekend! Northwestern travels to Madison to face a Badgers team coming off a bye.
We make our picks. Let us know what yours is below!
Henry Bushnell: Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 16
I can see this transpiring a lot like Northwestern's trip to Madison in 2013 did. The Wildcats aren't at a huge talent deficit, so they could hang with Wisconsin for a while, but I really can't see Northwestern moving the ball regularly. Clayton Thorson and the offense will need multiple big plays to win, and I don't see them getting them. In the end, Wisconsin will win rather comfortably.
Josh Rosenblat: Northwestern 23, Wisconsin 20
Wisconsin isn't as bad of a matchup for Northwestern as it has been in years past. The reason for that is Wisconsin's relatively weak running game. The Badgers are relying much more on Joel Stave's arm and in bad weather with a good Northwestern secondary, I like the Wildcats' chances to force a couple timely turnovers.
Zach Pereles: Wisconsin 17, Northwestern 13.
This game is going to be close. In the freezing cold, it might be sloppy. But when it comes down to it, Wisconsin's offense is simply better and more well-rounded than Northwestern's. The Wildcats will force some turnovers, but I don't see the offense being able to take full advantage of those turnovers, settling for three and not getting into the endzone often enough. For Northwestern to win, it'll have to run the ball really, really well. I just don't see that happening consistently against a good Wisconsin defense.
Sam Brief: Wisconsin 17, Northwestern 10
Two rock-solid defenses mixed with cold and snowy weather should yield a defensive battle here. But a depleted Northwestern offensive line mixed with a strong Wisconsin run game (even if Corey Clement doesn't play) should give the Badgers a slight edge.
Tristan Jung: Northwestern 17, Wisconsin 14
Northwestern hasn't won on the road at Wisconsin since 2000. This fact has been well documented in the lead up to this game. One of these days, that has to change, right? If any Northwestern team is going to take advantage of the "breaks of the game", it would be this team, right? Stats are great, but I'm not going to repeat everybody else and cite some stat because I'll lose my current irrational confidence that Northwestern prevail. I think Northwestern somehow finds a way to win in the terrible conditions, possibly thanks to a Matt Harris pick-six or some other crazy play.
Ian McCafferty: Wisconsin 24, Northwestern 13
Northwestern is going on the road to play a ranked team with a pretty good defense. Sound familiar? Now granted Wisconsin is nowhere near as talented as Michigan, but Northwestern isn't exactly a world beater either. I think it stays close early, but the sheer ineffectiveness of the Wildcat passing game eventually catches up to them. It won't be fun, pretty, or warm, but the Badgers will get the win. (However, I have only picked Northwestern to lose in two other games this year, Stanford and Nebraska soooooooo.....)
Martin Oppegaard: Northwestern 20, Wisconsin 19
Call me crazy but when Northwestern shuts down Wisconsin's Clement-less running game and forces Stave to throw in poor weather conditions, good things will happen. However, the same could be said about the Northwestern offense but the secondary is a difference-maker this year, VanHoose and Harris will shut down Alex Erickson and company. The Wildcats beat Wisconsin last year when the Badgers had Melvin Gordon and a healthy, experienced offensive line, they can absolutely beat the Badgers with a much less talented running back and a depleted o-line.