Wisconsin (4-0, 1-0) at Michigan (4-0, 1-0)
When: Saturday, October 1st 2016
Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Time: 3:30 ET | TV: ABC
A battle of top ten teams takes place Saturday afternoon from Ann Arbor as the Michigan Wolverines host the Wisconsin Badgers for the first time in six years. The Badgers are coming off their second victory this season against a top-10 team when they knocked off Michigan State 30-6 last week behind a stifling defense. Wisconsin has won seven consecutive road games dating back to last season, but are still double-digit underdogs coming into this game. “We play with a chip on our shoulder and it shows on Saturday,” Wisconsin linebacker Vince Biegel told reporters. “We’ll have people continue to overlook us and that’s fine as we’re going to continue to go out there and prove people wrong.” Freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw for 195 yards and a touchdown against Michigan State in his first career start. T.J. Watt, who is the brother of Houston Texans star J.J. Watt, was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week after recording six tackles, including 3.5 for loss, and 2.5 sacks against the Spartans. Wisconsin has given up 17 points or fewer in all four games this season and are ranked seventh nationally in scoring defense (11.8).
Michigan will test that stingy Badger defense on Saturday as they come in scoring 45 points or more in each of their first four games this season. The Wolverines have won nine of their last ten games dating back to last season, but their looking for their first win against a top-10 team since beating Wisconsin in September of 2008 – a string of 11 consecutive games. The Wolverines rushed for 326 yards and six touchdowns in a 49-10 route of Penn State last week in their conference opener. Karan Higdon rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns while De’Veon Smith (107), Ty Isaac (74) and Chris Evans (56) all added a TD apiece last week. Senior cornerback Jeremy Clark will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL on a kickoff return in the fourth quarter against the Nittany Lions. Michigan leads the country in tackles for loss with 45 and are 11th in overall defense (269.8 yards a game).
I made the mistake of going against Wisconsin last week and they routed the Spartans. Michigan hasn’t played anyone yet this year and I believe Wisconsin’s defense will be the difference in keeping this one close.
Pick: Wisconsin +10.5