For the second week in a row I have dropped the ball by not posting a recap of the Wisconsin game, luckily someone has picked up my slack. There was a certain movie on Monday night about the profession of ‘bouncing’ that distracted me from writing. Honestly though, what can be said about a 62-17 win that was not already said when Patrick Swayze rips out the guy’s throat in Road House. I will also miss next week as for the game Saturday I am heading back to the North Woods of Wisconsin and Monday will be attending Vikings at Packers in Lambeau, not returning to the city until late Tuesday. I would like to point out though before I touch on the Minnesota game that I did predict the margin of victory for Bucky at 45 (although I said 52-7). And, I have a sneaking suspicion that the Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe may end the same for Big Red.
To call Minnesota the worst team in the B1G is an insult to Indiana, but it is a true statement. I have bad news for Golden Gopher fans, if you are one of New Mexico State’s easy non-conference games your program might be heading in the wrong direction. And the statistics show this, Minnesota is 108th in the NCAA in total offense (103rd in passing) and 94th in total defense. Dead last in the Legends division the Gophers have only beat the Iowa Hawkeyes in B1G play and Miami (of Ohio, not The U) to put their record at 2-7 (although 4-5 ATS)
Writing about this game I am quickly finding that it is much harder to put a piece together about a game the Badgers will most likely win by 40 than it is to rag on Ohio State for 700 words. Minnesota will have to stop an offense that is ranked 9th in yards and 4th in total points which may be a task too large. That is also why (if gambling were legal in these United States) I would suggest strongly going to Bucky -27.5. This also has something to do with the fact that Montee Ball loves gaining yards and Minnesota is 91st against the run (although that stat is skewed slightly due to the fact that when teams are up by 30 they usually pound the rock). The advanced numbers also support my decision as against the spread Badgers are 13-2-1 in their last 16 games, 9-2 in their last 11 B1G games and 13-3 in their last 16 November contests. And although it is insanely high I would go Over 63.5… I mean, there is a distinct possibility that the Badgers hit near 60 themselves.
Many people have argued that Wisconsin was exercising some demons last weekend against Purdue. I would disagree, I just think the modus operandi under Bielema has become ‘beat bad teams by as many points as humanly possible’. In the last 11 meetings for Paul Bunyans Axe the Over is throwing a shut out going 11-0 usually meaning high scoring and close games. The Badgers have won seven Axe’s in a row and are 8-2 in the last 10 times this rivalry was played. Regardless of the talent disparity this game has traditionally been hard fought and usually ends pretty close. That will not be the case Saturday in Minneapolis. Minnesota is a bad team, I fully expect Wilson and Ball to have great games and for it to be no surprise when the Badgers beat the Golden Gophers by as many points as humanly possible.
Sarah ‘the girl who sits in the cube next to me’s take: (Badgers head to play at Minnesota this weekend, thoughts?) ‘Well last week I was wrong, right? (Yes) ‘So, this week I have to go Wisconsin. What is Minnesota’s mascot?’ (They are the Golden Gophers) ‘Aren’t Gophers and Badgers family?’ (Um… I believe so) ‘Well they shouldn’t be fighting then.’ (See this is exactly the type of ‘Inside Baseball’ analysis I come to you for.) ‘Thank you?’