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Monday, September 25, 2023

2013 Badger football season predictions

Summer is normally a barren wasteland for Badger sports, where fans wait patiently for the first day of football season. With all the recent success on the gridiron, everyone is wondering: How will the Badgers fare this year?

The Badgers have seen three straight Big Ten titles and three straight Rose Bowl appearances. With two explosive running backs in senior James White and redshirt sophomore Melvin Gordon alongside the proven threat of redshirt senior wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin’s offense looks to be dangerous again in 2013. The Badgers’ signal-callers, while still a question mark, make up one of the deepest positions on the roster. On the defensive side of the ball, a talented front featuring a big time player in redshirt senior linebacker Chris Borland looks to ease the burden on an inexperienced secondary. All in all, 2013 looks promising for Wisconsin. The Daily Cardinal has you covered, with everything a football fan needs during the dog days of summer, with in-depth analysis and game-by-game predictions.

Aug. 31 vs. Massachusetts

Outcome: Win — Score: 45-7

With the kickoff at Camp Randall, Massachusetts enters its first-ever Football Bowl Subdivision bowl-eligible season, after leaving the Football Championship Subdivision in 2011. Last year UMass finished last in the Mid-American Conference in both offense and defense, and the prospects for this year don’t look much more promising. Upsets of this magnitude rarely, if ever, happen. As long as the Badgers don’t engage in any 2007 Michigan—Appalachian State-esque pre-game revelry, UW should win handily.

Sept. 7 vs. Tennessee Tech

Outcome: Win — Score: 51-3

Athlon Sports ranks this game as the No. 9 most shameful college football matchup of 2013, and I can’t help but agree. It’s a bona-fide law of physics that FBS teams beat FCS teams. UW should win handily again, especially after the Golden Eagles lost record-setting former Tennessee wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers to the NFL. A fun fact for you—provided Tech wins in its first game against NAIA Cumberland, Golden Eagles’ head coach Watson Brown would garner his 191st career loss against Wisconsin, overtaking Amos Alonzo Stagg for the all-time record.

Sept. 14 at Arizona State

Outcome: Loss — Score: 24-17

If anything is going to be Wisconsin’s kryptonite in 2013, it will be road games. Sun Devil Stadium is a tough place to play, while ASU returns a solid quarterback in redshirt senior Taylor Kelly and two standout running backs. Much like the Badgers, Arizona State’s question marks lie in its receiving corps and secondary, which haven’t seen much experience.

The difference in this game will lie in the Sun Devils' front seven, particularly redshirt senior Will Sutton, who is considered by some to be the best defensive lineman in the country. The Badgers have a fearsome running attack to be sure, but ASU’s defensive front is good enough to overpower Wisconsin’s shallow offensive line.

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Sept. 21 vs. Purdue

Outcome: Win — Score: 34-13

With a first-year head coach in Darrell Hazell and a less-than-spectacular core of returners, Purdue doesn’t look strong enough to cause Wisconsin much trouble. Hazell looks to put his quarterback under center, a new concept for the spread-reliant Boilermakers of the past.

Returning most of its defense, Purdue does look to improve on last year’s finish as second-to-last in the Big Ten, though it’s doubtful that the Boilermakers will be able to stop either Gordon, White or Abbrederis. In 2012 Purdue was able fight until the bitter end against both Ohio State and Notre Dame, so don’t expect the Boilermakers to go down without a fight.

Sept. 28 at Ohio State

Outcome: Loss — Score: 17-10

Ohio State, while bowl-ineligible last season, finished undefeated and is ranked No. 2 in this year’s national AP preseason rankings, making a win in Columbus seem all but unattainable. Add in a Heisman-caliber quarterback in junior Braxton Miller and one of the best recruiting classes in the country and the Badgers' chances don’t seem great. This is a game that few expect Wisconsin to win, and I can’t really argue with their logic.

Oct. 12 vs. Northwestern

Outcome: Win — Score: 24-20

Northwestern is a team that, on paper, Wisconsin should beat. That being said, anything can happen in college football, and this game is a popular upset pick for Northwestern. After switching to a zone-read run game last season, senior running back Venric Mark and quarterback Kain Colter have become a fearsome duo out of the backfield that could give Wisconsin some serious trouble. The Wildcats are no stranger to big games, putting together a 10-win season last year. I still plan on Wisconsin emerging with a win, but of all my picks this is the one I am least confident in.

Oct. 19 at Illinois

Outcome: Win — Score: 37-20

Illinois is coming off a winless conference season in which it finished near the bottom of every statistical category in the Big Ten. With a severely depleted defensive line after the NFL Draft, the Illini don’t stand a chance against Wisconsin’s fabled running attack. An inexperienced Illinois secondary will give Wisconsin’s unproven receivers a chance as well. Illini head coach Tim Beckman does have a good core of returners on offense, featuring a trio of running backs with loads of potential, but it won’t be enough to down the Badgers, even on the road.

Nov. 2 at Iowa

Outcome: Win — Score: 20-7

The 2012 Hawkeyes failed to qualify for a bowl game for the first time since 2000, and they saw a traditionally strong passing game dwindle under a new offensive coordinator. A slew of newly recruited receivers and a new quarterback won’t be able to stand up to even Wisconsin’s secondary, though a strong offensive line may give Iowa a chance in the running game. The Hawkeye defensive line also struggled last year, which bodes well for Wisconsin’s run-reliant offense.

Nov. 9 vs. Brigham Young

Outcome: Win — Score: 34-13

A mid-season nonconference game strikes, and it’s a completely unfamiliar opponent to most Badger fans. First-year Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen, however, is more than familiar with BYU after his stint at Utah State. Cougar head coach Bronco Mendenhall rearranged his entire staff following a turbulent 2012 season in which three quarterbacks saw significant time. The key cog in BYU’s offense is senior Cody Hoffman, the nation’s No. 10 ranked receiver in 2012. Even with his talent level, it’s hard to believe Hoffman can make up for an inexperienced line and unproven backs, making Wisconsin an easy pick.

Nov. 16 vs. Indiana

Outcome: Win — Score: 39-24

Indiana’s threat lies in its penchant for explosive offensive plays, and with the return of redshirt sophomore quarterback Tre Roberson from a broken leg suffered in game two of last season, that threat is compounded. A defense that finished near the bottom in the Big Ten in most categories will put a wrench in any Hoosier hope of defeating the Badgers this season, however. Especially painful for Indiana was the loss of its two top defensive linemen, which will make the day a whole lot easier for White and Gordon.

Nov. 23 at Minnesota

Outcome: Win — Score: 27-6

Minnesota lost arguably its best player in quarterback Marqueis Gray last season and will need to see some maturation from sophomore quarterback Phillip Nelson before the Gophers pose any threat to the Badgers. Don’t count Minnesota out quite yet, the Gophers do have a talented line and two solid backs in Donnell Kirkwood and Rodrick Williams Jr., though an unproven unit of receivers that have four combined touchdowns is also a huge problem for Minnesota. You can’t win if you can’t score.

Nov. 30 vs. Penn State

Outcome: Win — Score: 24-16

Even after enduring the scandal of the century and all the sanctions that followed, football fans in Happy Valley still had something to celebrate at the end of the 2012 season. Penn State needs to find a quarterback if it has any chance of beating the Badgers, but with Big Ten receiver of the year Allen Robinson and a solid crew of backs behind an imposing offensive line, the Nittany Lions do stand a chance. Penn State almost always puts together a stifling defense, and this year is no different. This game should be a battle.

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