Wofford Terriers (0-1) (0-0 ATS) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) (0-2 ATS) 12pm ET, Saturday, September 11, Camp Randall, Madison, WI, Big Ten (regional)
By Evergreen of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Wofford +18.5/UW -18.5
Over/Under: Not offered (Some books may have it on gameday)
Its been a trend for BCS conferences to beat up on the little guy since the NCAA added the seventh home game, and this weekend features another such match up as the Wofford Terriers travel to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. This is the last non-conference game for Wisconsin before their Big Ten opener next week, so theyll be looking to have a feel-good rout in front of the Camp Randall fans before real football begins. The Division 1-AA Terriers are playing their second game against a FBS school, and will look to fare better than the 40-7 loss they took at South Florida in week 1.
Vegas waited until mid-week to post the Badgers as 17 point favorites and the line is now sitting at -18.5 at most online sportsbooks. There is no posted money line or over/under total for this game as is usually the case with most FBS/FCS matches.
Wofford comes from the Southern Conference of the NCAA FCS, the same conference as Appalachian State and the Citadel. Along with the 40-7 loss against South Florida, the Terriers have a 42-14 victory against Charleston Southern on their 2009 resume. Wofford has held its own at times with the big schools, losing by 10 and 17 against South Carolina and NC State in recent games.
Wofford will bring a triple option attack to Madison and are the definition of run-heavy, averaging 177 yards on the ground versus 34 via the pass. Mitch Allen is the quarterback for the Terriers, but is mostly a run threat, rushing for 147 yards in two contests while completing just 7 of 18 pass attempts. Eric Breitenstein leads Wofford with 187 rush yards and three scores. Mike Rucker is also above 100 yards rushing on the season. Its no secret that the Terriers will stay run-oriented no matter what as the team has just 109 passing yards to this point.
The Badgers have escaped with two close wins so far, 28-20 against Northern Illinois and a 34-31 double overtime win against Fresno State last week. The Badgers failed to cover in either game, and are 1-1 with the over/under.
Wisconsin will run its usual pro-style offense, but this year has seen an increase in passing efficiency from the Badgers that few expected coming into the season. Scott Tolzien won the quarterback job in camp, and has looked good, throwing for 482 yards and two scores in early action. Curt Phillips is the QB of the future for the Badgers and will see time this weekend as a change of pace to make the defense account for run ability. John Clay will get the start at tailback after cracking off a 70 yard touchdown last week, bringing his rush total to 186 yards. Tolzien is mixing in all his receivers, with Issac Anderson, Nick Toon and tight end Garrett Graham all over 120 yards receiving. As a team, the Badgers are averaging 423 total yards and 31 points per game.
Keys for this game include how the Wisconsin defense will handle the triple option as the Badgers have not been tackling well in early action and if Wofford can put up any resistance to the balanced offense of UW. Wisconsin is also likely to start a third-string center as John Moffit and Travis Fredrick are both doubtful for Saturday. The injury report is clean for Wofford.
Evergreens Pick: Even though the triple option can give opponents fits (see Ohio State v. Navy) the Badgers just have too much on offense to not handle this one with ease. Giving up 40 like they did against South Florida seems in line for Wofford and Wisconsin should be able to figure out the option enough to keep the Terriers off the board until late. Badgers win and get their first cover of the year by the score of 45-13.