Ohio State (5-0, 2-0) at Wisconsin (4-1, 1-1)
When: Saturday, October 15th 2016
Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: ABC
The Wisconsin Badgers will face their fourth top-10 ranked team already this season when they host the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday night in a huge Big Ten showdown. The Badgers are coming off a tough 14-7 loss at Michigan two weeks ago, but covered the spread for the fourth time this season. The offense needs to start moving the ball if the Badgers want to be a legitimate contender in the Big Ten and National race – I don’t care how good their defense is. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook was just 9-of-25 for 88 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions in the loss to Michigan, while the rushing attack averaged only 2.5 yards per attempt. The Badgers are fourth in the nation in points allowed (12.2) and have actually improved on last year’s average thus far (13.7). They have allowed only five offensive touchdowns in five games, thanks in large part to linebacker T.J. Watt (5.5 sacks) and cornerback Derrick Tindal, who has three interceptions and five pass breakups. Wisconsin needs to keep pace with Nebraska in the Big Ten West, and will host Nebraska in two weeks after a road date with Iowa.
The Buckeyes look every part of a National Title contender both on offense and defense. They’re ranked third in the country in scoring offense (53.2) and second in scoring defense (10.8). They have covered four of their five games like Wisconsin, but only won by 21 points last week against a pesky Indiana team. Offensively, quarterback J.T. Barrett now has accounted for 86 career touchdowns which is two shy of the school record, held by Braxton Miller. Running back Mike Weber owns a Big Ten-best rushing average of 113.2 yards per game. On the defensive side, Ohio State has not given up a rushing touchdown and has forced 12 turnovers, including 10 interceptions. Ohio State has won 19 straight true road games – a school record and the longest active streak in the country.
These teams have played some pretty competitive games in this series of the last several years except for the last time they met. It was the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis and the Buckeyes humiliated the Badgers 59-0. Wisconsin has won six games in a row following a loss and has won eight of its last nine games following a bye week and I have underestimated them this season. I hate to go against Wisconsin at home, but their offense is so bad that if they get behind early, there’s no way they’re catching up. I’m taking the road favorite here – reluctantly.
Pick: Ohio State -10.5