Wisco Wednesday: Oh No

Was That The Real Badgers? Am I Actually Scared of Northwestern? 

So I guess the Badgers are actually bad. How can a team that hung with Ohio State till the 4th quarter get beat by the worst team in the Big Ten. 

The short answer: Injuries and Coaching.

The coaching part stings. Everyone wanted Fickell to be successful from the jump. It appears that while everyone else in the conference is getting better week to week, Wisconsin is in neutral. Throw in some injuries, and now you’ve got full-blown regression. 

Save the bowl streak, save the winning record streak, get the Ax, and show enough improvement that I’m actually excited for next year. Sounds like a plan, right?

Looking Back: I Don’t Need Air Raid, I Just Need A Team

Wisconsin 14
Indiana 20

404 – Offense Not Found

I thought this would be an automatic win, and I guess the players did too. They looked unprepared and had no energy.

The offense was pathetic. Too many drops from the WRs. Too many tipped balls thrown by Locke. No broken tackles by Acker or Yacamelli. Just a complete and total mess.

Locke did not look like “the guy.” He played poorly enough that I’m already a little concerned for next year. Maybe a healthy Mordecai finds a way to win that one for Wisco. A healthy Braelon definitely would’ve helped. 

And a final question: is this the worst Wisconsin O-Line in the last 20 years? Because if someone told me it was, I might believe them. 

2 Plays Away From 1-5

The loss to Indiana made me go back and look at Wisconsin’s other conference games. Two weeks ago I thought Wisconsin was just inches away from being a “good team.” Now, I’m starting to think the 2023 squad is inches away from being terrible.

A Pick-Six in the endzone vs. Rutgers.

A Touchdown pass to an OT on a trick play.

Take away those 2 plays, and Wisconsin is likely 1-5 in the B1G. That’s how close to the edge Bucky has been this season. And instead of 1 miracle play saving the Indiana game, Wisco finally got got.

Legitimate Injury Excuses

If you think I’m being too negative… fair. Wisconsin has plenty of excuses this season for things to have been as rocky as they have been. New coach, new scheme, new players, old players that don’t fit the new scheme, etc.

The one thing I didn’t expect: this many injuries. 

Mordecai, Braelon, and Mellusi are the big ones.

Wisconsin also started the season without TE1, TE2, TE3, and their Center.

WR Dike and S Latu were both out for the Indiana game.

LB Chaney got hurt late in the 1st half.

And there are more. Wisconsin is a half broken team this year. Everyone deals with injuries, but Wisco definitely doesn’t have the depth to deal with this many all at once. I’d bet a healthy Wisconsin is better than 5-4 right now. 

Looking Forward: Northwestern – A Thorn in the B1G West

  • Odds listed were taken from FanDuel at the time of writing.

Game Preview: Northwestern at Wisconsin


Wisconsin -10.5




Camp Randall Stadium – Madison, Wisconsin

Kickoff Time:

2:30 PM CT

TV Network:


The Team Without a Coach

No Coach, No Problem

Somehow, some way, no coach appears to be the right coach in Evanston. Everyone wrote this team off when longtime HC Pat Fitzgerald was fired during summer camp for hazing that was taking place in the program. I was one of those people writing off NW. They went 1-11 last year, and by all accounts were going to be a worse team this year. 

Getting rid of Fitzgerlad may have been good for the team in more ways than one.

Better at Home

Northwestern “only” has 4 wins. Compare that to Wisconsin, which has 5. I guess that’s not the difference I expected back in August. Northwestern’s season win total was set at 2. Yeah, 2 wins. Wisconsin’s was 8.5. So you can cash in on the under with 3 weeks to go. 

Back to those 4 NW wins. All 4 of them have been at home. Yes, NW beat Minnesota and Maryland. And I think both of those teams are better than NW. But they had to play in Evanston. I never thought the high school stadium that is Ryan Field would ever produce a home field advantage, but it appears it has. Conversely, NW is 0-3 on the road. I guess I’m glad it’s in Camp Randall this Saturday. (Even though there is a history of NW doing shockingly well in Madison).

How they’ve done so far:

Northwestern is 4-5 right now. 

Week 1: Lost 3-23 at Rutgers
Week 2: Won 41-7 at home vs. UTEP
Week 3: Lost 14-21 at Duke
Week 4: Won 29-27 at home vs. Minnesota
Week 5: Lost 17-44 at home vs. Penn State
Week 6: Won 41-7 at home vs. Howard (FCS)
Week 7: Bye Week
Week 8: Lost 14-31 at Nebraska
Week 9: Won 24-33 at home vs. Maryland
Week 10: Lost 7-10 vs. Iowa (Wrigley Field)

Northwestern refuses to be consistent. They have alternated wins and losses every single week. Following the pattern, they are due for a win. I don’t like that. 

What to Watch for the Badgers

Idk Man, Maybe We Need 0 and 8

I hope Braelon can play. Last week I wrote that Wisconsin wouldn’t need him against Indiana. I am an idiot. Every team needs their best player, and Wisco’s is Braelon Allen. 

It sounds like Mordecai could possibly come back too, that is wildly shocking to me. I assumed having hand surgery 4 weeks ago would equal a dead season for Tanner. I don’t want him to play injured, and he’s not the future. But if Bucky’s down in the 4th, maybe he can come in and save the day. At the very least it’s nice to have options/depth at the QB position.

Locke With a Dash of Evers?

Even though Mordecai might be good to go, I want Locke to get the start. Everything is pointing towards him being the future at Wisconsin. If Locke is going to start against Alabama, Penn State, USC, and Oregon next year, I want him to get as many reps as possible this year. I know the season isn’t technically dead yet, but let’s focus on the future.

Because we are focusing on next year, let’s talk about Nick Evers. He was a former 4* QB who transferred to Wisconsin last offseason, just like Locke. He is currently a redshirt freshman, just like Locke. Evers actually transferred to Wisco before Locke, and likely thought he was going to be the starter in 2024, just like… Locke. 

Evers is Locke’s #1 threat to the starting job next year. He is currently QB4 (Locke is QB2), but he is far and away the most athletic QB on Wisconsin’s roster. He has the biggest arm and is the best runner. He’s QB4 because he doesn’t know the playbook well enough. 

Let’s give Evers some redzone reps. He’ll only need to know 4-5 plays, but let him run a wildcat style system to add another running threat on important downs. This probably won’t happen, but I think it would be good for the QB competition next year, and Wisconsin would be putting one of their best athletes on the field. Who knows what could happen?

My Picks*

Wisconsin has me disappointed and worried. I thought Indiana was the bounce back game. Now I can’t decide if the downward spiral continues, or if the bounce back was just a week late. Now that you know how conflicted I am, below is what I would pick – if I had to.


Take Wisconsin -10.5

There is no logical reason to take Wisconsin -10.5. But this is the B1G West, so that makes it a lock. 


Under 42.5

It’s the B1G West. Points are illegal and having fun is heavily discouraged. 

How I did last week:

Picking the Winner: Lost – Indiana won
Picking the Spread: Lost – Indiana covered
Picking the O/U: Lost – The Under hit

An absolute failure last week, just like Wisconsin.

Season-Long Record Picking Wisconsin Games:

Picking the Winner: 7-2
Picking the Spread: 6-3
Picking the O/U: 5-4

*These picks are to express my opinion on games from a point spread perspective. I am not advocating for you, the reader, to gamble on any of these games. Please bet responsibly.

Depressed Score Prediction:

Northwestern 10
Wisconsin 24

That score looks right. Wisconsin does their classic 1st half scare, followed by a second half pull away. It’s 10-10 at the half, everyone is pissed, and then they remember how to play football around the middle of the 3rd quarter. 

It’s what should’ve happened vs. Indiana, except the 2nd half team forgot to show up in the 2nd half. This time they do.


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This article was written by Cole Tollison and edited by Hayden Breene

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