Fresno State Bulldogs (1-0)(0-0 ATS) v. Wisconsin Badgers (1-0)(0-1 ATS)
12pm ET, Saturday, Sept. 12, Camp Randall, ESPN
by: Evergreen of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Fresno State +8.5/Wisconsin -8.5
While most NCAA football fans will have all eyes on Ohio State/USC or Michigan/Notre Dame, there are a few other nice matches on the schedule, including Fresno State traveling to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. Both teams are coming off wins in their respective openers and the winner this Saturday should creep pretty close to the finges of the top-25. ESPN like the game enough to put it in it’s noon ET slot.
Vegas opened with the Badgers as 9 point favorites, but the online bookies have the line at -8.5 in favor of the home team. The over/under total was as high as 56 at open, but 53 to 54 is most common as of Tuesday night. Fresno State is on the money line at +275 with Wisconsin in the -325 range.
Saturday will be the conclusion of a home and home with Wisconsin looking to make it two in a row over the Bulldogs after a 13-10 win at Fresno in 2008. This will be the fourth meeting between the schools with UW at 2-1 both straight up and against the spread in the series.
Pat Hill’s Fresno squad dominated UC-Davis in week one by a score of 51-0 but it’s hard to get any gauge off of a NCAA Division II opponent. The Bulldogs remained focused throughout in pitching the shutout and the ground game was very good, but UC-D just can’t compare to the skill level of a BCS conference team. Still, the Bulldogs look like they belong at the top of the WAC conference and should be hungry for revenge after the close loss against Wisconsin last year.
Fresno was able to get a lot of players in last week, including three QB’s, but look for junior Ryan Colburn to get the start and likely see nearly all the snaps this week. Colburn threw for 161 yards and a score before leaving the game and Fresno concentrated on the run as the game went on, rushing for five touchdowns as a team. Ryan Mathews, Robbie Rouse and Lonyae Miller combined for 227 yards against UC-Davis to give the Badgers a few different players to scheme against.
Wisconsin is also 1-0 after a 28-20 win over Northern Illinois. The Badgers dominated much of the early action and looked poised to put away the Huskies before a turnover let NIU back in the game and after the Badgers failed to recover an onsides kick, the defense did just enough to hold on for the win.
Brett Bielema used a two quaterback system last week and will continue to this week as both signal callers saw success against Northern Illinois. Scott Tolzien will get the start after throwing for 257 yards and a score and Curt Phillips will see time after two or three series. Phillips threw for 24 yards and added another 34 yards rushing in 19 snaps. The Badgers surprised many by throwing the ball more than in years past, but Zach Brown and John Clay did still combine for 94 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Isaac Anderson emerged as a playmaker, grabbing three balls for 100 yards, rushing for 23 more and scoring twice. Tolzien and Phillips both looked for Garret Graham and Nick Toon as the pair combined for 11 receptions.
Fresno hasa clean injury sheet heading in with center John Moffit listed as questionable for Wisconsin. Travis Fredrick would get the start if Moffit is unable to go and safeties Aubrey Pleasant and Shane Carter remain suspended by Coach Bielema.
Fresno has been good on the road of late, going 4-1 against the spread when coming in as the dog, but have gone 0 for 4 ATS out of the WAC. Wisconsinis also struggling with the line, going 3-7 in their last ten overall and 1-4 at Camp Randall.
Evergreen’s Pick: The Badgers should have covered last week, but a sloppy fourth quarter killed that. They could take it to the Bulldogs and finish them off, but I like the over better seeing that both defenses are suspect and both offenses look like they have some juice.