Wisco Wednesday: Week 1 Preview

Big Fick debuts vs. the Buffalo Bulls in Mad Town. The start of an era.

Not nearly as intimidating as the Bills, the Bulls are a middle of the road team in the Mid-American Conference that also resides in Buffalo, NY. There is a lot of interest in the new offense that Fickell is bringing to Madison. The Bulls should be a nice tune up/pseudo preseason game for the Badgers to work out the kinks of new offensive and defensive schemes.

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

Game Preview: Buffalo at (19) Wisconsin


Wisconsin -27.5




Camp Randall – Madison, Wisconsin

Kickoff Time:

Saturday – 2:30 PM CT

TV Network:


Who are the Buffalo Bulls?

2022 Season:

  • Buffalo went 7-6 in 2022
  • They beat Georgia Southern in the Camellia Bowl to end the season.
  • They went 5-3 in the MAC East, taking 2nd in the division.
  • 66th in scoring defense, giving up 26.7 pts per game.
  • 64th in scoring offense, scoring 28.5 pts per game

The defense and offensive rankings can be a bit inflated because they played poor competition for most of the season. They threw the ball a bit better than they ran it, passing for 235 yards per game and rushing for 141 yards per game.

What they expect for the 2023 Season:

Their 2023 O/U win total is 6.5. So the betting public sees this team as a carbon copy of last year’s squad. Head coach Maurice Linguist is back for a 3rd season after winning a bowl game for the first time since 2019 (when Lance Liapold was HC). Seven regular season wins is not a stretch, especially in the MAC; which is one of the 2 worst G5 conferences (the other is C-USA).

The media has picked Buffalo to finish 3rd in the MAC East (with one 1st place vote).

What to Watch for the Badgers

Everything is New on Offense

The Badgers are implementing Phil Longo’s air raid and week 1 is our first opportunity to see it in action. It should look wildly different than what Badger fans are used to. Since Alvarez showed up, Wisconsin has been running a pro-style offense – emphasis on running. They also used a traditional huddle, many 2 TE sets, and WRs did a lot of blocking.

Things to look for with the new Dairy Air Raid

  • 50/50 run-pass split. Longo runs the ball more than the standard air raid HC. That will be huge for Allan and Mellusi
  • Hurry up no huddle offense. Expect more total plays per game as guys will run to the line of scrimmage, looking to the sideline for the call. This will stress the O-lineman if they aren’t properly conditioned. Expect some starters to rotate on long drives.
  • 3 and 4 WR sets for most of the game. Longo wants to rotate his top 6 guys a lot and has 2 great slot options in Bell and Pauling. 
  • More passes to the half-backs. Even though the Badgers ran a lot, they rarely had 2 HBs out at once under Chryst. Longo likes to use 2 RB sets to have extra screen pass options on RPO plays.
  • A lot of quick passes, but not as many deep passes as you think. The air raid is about passing, and passing a lot. There will be deep shots, but the offense is mostly about quick passes in the middle of the field.
  • The green TEs get some work late. The TE room in Madison is dreadful right now. I’ve covered that. After the game is well in hand, the staff will want to give the guys on the roster a chance to earn the starting job.

Suffocating Defense

Even with Leonhard, Herbig, and Benton gone, expect the defense to be a massive mismatch over the Buffalo offense. This should feel more like a scrimmage than a game. By that, I mean there will be a lot of guys rotating so the staff can see who is the best fit for different packages. The D-Line especially could have different guys every drive. 

Try to notice the 3-3-5 setup they plan to base out of. 

  • 3 Down Lineman
  • 3 Linebackers (at least one in position to rush the passer)
  • 5 DBs (3 corners – 2 outside, 1 slot / 2 safeties – 1 deep, 1 near the box)

This base package allows for a lot of flexibility on who’s pass rushing on a given play. The OLBs are good, but the strength of this team is its ILBs, Turner and Njongmeta. The public rumor is they will be blitzing a lot this year. 

My Picks*

I have no plans to bet on anything involving this game with how much change there has been in Madison. But, here’s what I would pick –  if I had to.


Take Wisconsin -27.5

I’ll take Wisconsin to cover the 27.5 points. It’s possible Wisco has a slow start and doesn’t win by a full 4 TDs. But I also don’t see the defense giving up much of anything to the mediocre Buffalo offense.


Under 54.5

Speaking of suffocating defense, the only way this goes over is by Wisconsin scoring 45+. Which is absolutely possible. I just think that once the game is effectively over, the back-ups will enter the game and the scoring will slow down.

*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.

Pointless Score Prediction:

Wisconsin 41

Buffalo 10

Guessing a final score is nearly impossible, but that’s my best shot. 

Note – I have 2 field goals for UW, not a missed extra point.


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

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1 thought on “Wisco Wednesday: Week 1 Preview”

  1. I’m psyched about the new era of Dairy Air Football, but I think the Badgers will hang close to 60 on them. The D will score a couple of times, and the backup running backs will be fresh against their tired D in the second half!

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