As of right now, we are less than one week away from the kickoff of Wisconsin football. On this coming Friday night, Wisconsin and Illinois will kick off the long awaited season for Big Ten fans.
What we have is a nine game sprint to the finish. No byes. Capped off with a crossover/championship weekend on the 19ths of December.
So while your hopes and expectations are sky high, lets check out the Badgers schedule! (You can find the entire Big Ten schedule here)
1o/23: vs Illinois
11/7: vs Purdue
11/14: at Michigan
11/21: at Northwestern
11/28: vs Minnesota
12/5: vs Indiana
12/19: East/West Week (and the Conference Title Game)
- First things first, the season kicks off with a revenge game vs the Fighting Illini. Bucky’s playoff hopes were derailed last season in Champaign, look for Paul Chryst’s crew to come out hot.
- Avoiding Ohio State and Penn State must be taken advantage of. Meeting the Buckeyes in Indianapolis unblemished has to be the goal for this team. Hard? Yes. Doable? Certainly.
- On the road for Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, and Iowa. Not ideal, but Chryst’s teams are known to be road warriors. How will lack of fans affect the team, although the same can be said for games at Camp Randall.
- No byes as previously mentioned. What will that mean for if there is an outbreak within the team? Does the Big Ten have a contingency plan?
Obviously this will be the choice. Any time Wisconsin visits the Big House fans will perk up. It is not a place of recent success for Bucky, but it will be pivotal to their championship aspirations that they come out on top here. The defense has enough experience to pick up for an ailing offense if need be in this game, but Wisconsin must come to play here. A win here and fans can begin to dream…
Insert nightmare scenarios for Badger fans. This game has always given Badger fans nightmares as it is where Big Ten Championship aspirations go to die. As this game also comes in-between two critical games on the schedule, getting through this unscathed is a MUST. Pat Fitzgerald’s squad will be ready.
As it did last year, this game will more than likely decide who goes to Indianapolis. Fortunately in the last two decades, more often than not Wisconsin has come out on top vs the Gophers. However, you just know that PJ Fleck is going to have his guys motivated after the curb stomping they had handed to them in front of a national audience last year by the Badgers. The Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe should be a dandy this season.
Don’t Forget About This Game
The fact that this comes as the last game on the schedule is particularly annoying for Badger fans. Kirk Ferentz always has his teams playing their best ball down the stretch of the season. However, if the Badgers are to have hopes of a Big Ten Championship, they will have to earn it. No question about that with this capping off the regular season.
The 2020 iteration of the Wisconsin Badgers will have some different faces, but similar expectations. With the loss of quarterback Jack Coan indefinitely after foot surgery, the keys of the offense are in the hands of Graham Mertz. The highly touted QB has looked good in practice, but the defense will be relied upon early as the offense looks to find its groove after now losing their three most important players in Coan, Jonathan Taylor, and Quintez Cephus.
Luckily, the schedule offers enough to allow for the defense to take control and allow the offense to settle in. At Nebraska week two is no joke, but get through that and Bucky can morph into a team capable of getting to the Big Ten Title game.
All in all, it should feel great for fans to get to watch not only Wisconsin, but Big Ten football again. Take it in, as we’ve learned in 2020 absolutely nothing is guaranteed.