Wisconsin vs. Michigan Game Preview & Fearless Prediction

Check out the Wisconsin vs. Michigan fearless prediction and game preview.

Wisconsin (4-0) vs. Michigan (4-0) Game Preview


Date: Saturday, Oct. 1
Game Time: 3:30 pm
Venue: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Network: ABC

Why Wisconsin Will Win

Michigan, welcome to a real defense.

The Wolverine offense has been fantastic so far, cranking up 45 points or more in each of the first four games. There’s one problem with that – actually, four: Hawaii, UCF, Colorado and Penn State.

Statistically, the Knight and Buff defenses aren’t that bad, but that’s a competition thing. The Wolverines are about to experience the soundest defense this side of Tuscaloosa.

The Badgers are not only insanely disciplined, they’re relentless on the defensive front, owning the Michigan State backfield last week and seemingly winning every battle. Michigan State gained just 75 yards against a D that kept Leonard Fournette in relative check, too, and allowed just one rushing score all year.

It’s a frustrating team with the way it can bend, and give a few things here and there, but rarely break, with the defense doing a phenomenal job on third downs as it feeds into the Wisconsin narrative.

Don’t screw up, get the defense off the field, hold the ball for 37 minutes, and let the other guy make the mistake.

Michigan State dropped a punting attempt and lost a key fumble, UW pounced on both, ball game. Brandon Harris threw a horrible pick, LSU lost, ball game, and the Tiger program never recovered.

Michigan isn’t screwing up, but Wisconsin has a way of forcing the mistakes to happen. It’s not luck, but there’s one big problem with how things are going so far for the Badgers …

Why Michigan Will Win

There’s something very, very 2015 Northwestern about the 2016 Wisconsin Badgers.

Even with Corey Clement back and rolling, there’s still no real running game to count on against a defense like Michigan’s. Alex Hornibrook was great in his first start, but even with Wolverine CB Jeremy Clark out for the year with a knee injury, there still isn’t a sophisticated enough passing game to throw a scare into the nation’s No. 1 defense on third downs.

For the Badgers to win, like Northwestern of last season, this has to get ugly. This has to grind down into a ball control, field position, get the big break sort of a game, and if Michigan can somehow take an early lead, forget about it. Wisconsin doesn’t have the receivers to comeback in any sort of a shootout.

The Badger punting game has been mediocre, the return game isn’t a big deal, and PK Rafael Gaglione missed the Michigan State game with a back problem and is a question mark. UW isn’t going to win the special teams battle, and it’ll likely be on its side of the field for most of the game.

Michigan State might be better at it than Michigan, but the Wolverines can play the power, time of possession game, too. And they have the receiving corps that should give the Badger secondary fits, which is why this should come down to …

What’s Going To Happen?

Wilton Speight.

Georgia State QB Conner Manning got into a groove against the Badgers in the second half of the 23-17 loss, finishing completing 20-of-29 passes for 269 yards and a score. Call it a lookahead moment for Bucky, but it is possible to complete passes on this Badger defense.

Michigan State wanted to trade rushing punches with the Badgers, and you can’t do that. LSU found that out, too. You beat this team by getting vertical early, stretching out the secondary, and not letting the sure-hitting safeties and linebackers cheat up and provide the blast – yards after the catch just don’t exist.

LSU never figured out that it had a pair of NFL wideouts at its disposal – part of the reason for the coaching change – and tried to go ultra-conservative, thinking the defense and Fournette would be enough. Michigan won’t do that.

Jake Butt will absolutely kill the middle of the Badger defense if Amara Darbu and Jehu Chesson can come up with a few deep plays early on. Speight has only thrown one pick on the year – a disastrous play in the opener – but against Wisconsin, it’ll be okay to take some shots and take a few chances. His defense can handle it.

The Badger D will keep this from getting out of hand, but Michigan will show just how complete it really is with an impressive all-around performance.

Wisconsin vs. Michigan Prediction

Final Score: Michigan 26, Wisconsin 17

Line: Michigan -10, o/u: COMING

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