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Roundtable predictions week 10: Rutgers vs. Wisconsin

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Can the Scarlet Knights defend Homecoming at the Birthplace?

Will we see Chris Laviano under center this Saturday?
Will we see Chris Laviano under center this Saturday?
Alex Goodlett

Rutgers will have earned that bye week following this one. The big uglies of Wisconsin visit High Point Solutions Stadium for a showdown with the Scarlet Knights. After getting trounced by the Buckeyes then run over by the Huskers, RU has another game against a physical conference championship contender. Can the Knights finally steal a win against a B1G team in red?

Kevin Recio: I always hold out hope for a competitive game. At least Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy aren't nearly as good as J.T. Barrett or even Tommy Armstrong. However, I do think Melvin Gordon is the best running back in the conference, maybe even the nation. Furthermore, he has a mammoth line blocking for him, which helps Corey Clement too. And then there's the defense. I remember thinking that this was one of the easier games for Rutgers based simply on matchups. Now, I'm not so sure. Again, I'm hopeful, but after two straight decisive defeats, it's harder to be as optimistic. The home crowd comes through for the Knights, but the Badgers walk away with the W. Wisconsin 35, Rutgers 27

Bob Cancro: They're playing House of Pain's Jump Around. Jump, jump, jump! But for the Knights, it's not for joy, though. In this crossover game, the Badgers are traveling for only the second time in ‘14. They are coming in at 5-2 (2-1) and the record will be burnished as they head back to Madison. Rutgers is getting its sea legs for playing in the B1G, but the depth is catching up a bit for RU. I actually thought the Knights would be at .500 coming in, so this is all good. Melvin Gordon and the two-headed quasi-monster at QB will control things. And with Nova a game time decision, it's a little dicey, although Laviano looked more than respectable against the Huskers, so maybe not a washout. Wisconsin 24, Rutgers 10

Dave White: Yeah, I have no concept about how this game might go.  This seems to be a better match-up in terms of style of play, and it's a home game for Rutgers.  And Wisconsin has had moments of vulnerability.  But they're good.  They have potential to be *real* good.  And the whole Gary Nova thing.  And weather... annnddd?  I don't know Wisconsin 35 Rutgers 13.

Ray Ransom: I'm feeling some magic in the air. It's homecoming. Wisconsin is clearly looking to their last few West Division games, specifically overlooking our Scarlet Knights. We got trounced vs. Ohio State, but we showed something vs. Nebraska. Is this the week we put it all together in front of a raucous home crowd? I think this could be the statement game that Rutgers needs. The TTFP game was the beginning. Michigan was the arrival. The Wisconsin game will be our coming out party. So far, we've done respectably well, but nobody is taking this team seriously. That all changes this week. Rutgers 33, Wisconsin 21

Andy Egan: I think our guys really get amped for B1G home games, and despite the weather, the crowd will be there for them. That said, I'm not sure we have the big hogs to compete with their cheese-fed behemoths in the trenches, and like we saw in Lincoln with Mr. Abdullah, Melvin Gordon does not need much of a hole to run a long way. I think we keep it close and look more competitive than the last two weeks, but Wisconsin holds on. Badgers 31, Scarlet Knights 24.

Garrett Stepien: Homecoming hasn't been as friendly as advertised for Rutgers in the past few years. Look no further than last year's 49-14 obliteration courtesy of Houston or two years ago when Kent State sent the team into a downward spiral in a 35-23 loss after a 7-0 start to the season. Throw into the mix the best opponent the Scarlet Knights will have ever faced in a Homecoming game, paired with a Heisman Trophy candidate in running back Melvin Gordon (1,168 yards, 16 touchdowns in only seven games), along with the fact that the rush defense, normally one of the lone bright spots on the team, has been getting gashed in the past two games and it's a recipe for disaster. Gary Nova hasn't been phenomenal since his heroics in the 26-24 win over Michigan, but he hasn't been an inefficient turnover machine like he has been in the past during the second halves of the season. If he can't give it a go -- and that looks like it'll be the case to this point -- Rutgers stands zero chance. I'm not buying in on Chris Laviano's stat line of 4-for-7 with 49 yards during a blowout in Nebraska. Wisconsin 35, Rutgers 14.