The 4-2 Wisconsin Badgers have definitely proven that they can play with the big boys. The 10th-ranked Badgers have played four teams in the top 10 already this year. Wisconsin defeated LSU and Michigan State earlier this season, but lost a couple of very hard-fought games against Michigan in Ann Arbor and Ohio State in Madison in their last two contests .
The Badgers had an opportunity to win both of those games, but in both cases it was a case of close, but no cigar.
But both polls saw enough from the Badgers to keep the team in the top 10 in the rankings.
The Badgers have one of the best defenses in the country (ranked No. 12 in total defense), plus the offense took a big step forward last week against a very tough Ohio State defense (ranked No. 6 in total defense).
The running game got untracked, led by Corey Clement, who rushed for 164 yards, plus the offense as a whole had 450 total yards.
The Badgers are 1-2 in the B1G West, but still have a chance to run the table and represent the division in the B1G Championship Game.
But the road won’t be easy, as the Badgers first have to face the 5-2 Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium this Saturday, and then host the 6-0 and No. 8 Nebraska Cornhuskers at Camp Randall Stadium the following week.
If the Badgers can somehow get by those two teams, Wisconsin would then have two road games against Northwestern and Purdue, while hosting two games against Illinois and Minnesota.
That’s a tough road to hoe, but the Badgers have proven that they are certainly up to the challenge, especially based on the past two weeks when they went toe to toe with both the Wolverines and Buckeyes.
I wanted to get an opinion on whether that goal of winning the B1G West was a doable goal for the Badgers by talking with NFL scout Chris Landry.
I had an opportunity to speak with Landry on 620 WDAE’s Steve Duemig show on Wednesday.
“I think now that they are getting into the meat of their schedule,” Landry said. “They have obviously played the two toughest teams [Michigan and Ohio State] already. I think they will fare pretty well.
“I think one of the best coaching jobs done all year has been done by Paul Chryst. They don’t have the playmakers on offense, but they are finding a way to get it done. They have to be careful this week against Iowa and then Nebraska. That will determine it.
“They’ll beat Northwester, Illinois, Purdue and Minnesota. But these next two weeks are going to determine it. Ohio State and Michigan, no issue there losing to those two teams, that are better than them, but as you mentioned, they [Wisconsin] played very well.
“I think these next two weeks at Iowa and then Nebraska at home will tell the story obviously in the [B1G] West. That will determine who will win it. But I like them. I think this defense is really good. Their linebackers are very long and athletic and are playing well.
“I think they carved up a phenomenal offensive game plan, getting guys open, devoid of playmakers against a very good Ohio State defense. Just hope that there is no let down. If not, I like their chances to win those two and maybe end up representing the West playing either Ohio State or Michigan, although I think it will be Ohio State, in the B1G Championship Game.”