Rutgers heads to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers (5-3), who are coming off a disappointing loss to Northwestern. Even so, Rutgers enter the game more than four touchdown underdogs. Our staff got together to make their picks for the game. Can Rutgers play their best game of the season after the bye week, or is another blowout loss in the cards?
Patrick Mella: If Rutgers can put together the same effort against Wisconsin that they gave versus Northwestern, I think they cover the point spread, and that in itself would be considered a win. With Wisconsin being banged up and Rutgers coming off a bye week, I don’t think the idea of them keeping it somewhat close is out of the realm of possibility. I’ve been saying all year that this defense is better than it has shown and I’m sticking with it. The problem is when they’re bad, they’re really bad. No reasonable Rutgers fan expects them to win this game, and that thinking is totally understandable. But the effort they put forth versus Northwestern proves that the fight within them does exist. Whether or not that fight comes out on Saturday remains to be seen. I think you can chalk up another L but that they do at least cover. Wisconsin 28, Rutgers 10
David Anderson: In the past I had been a little too swayed by the last week of football. Wisconsin is not as good as anyone thought heading into the season and so much is based on whether Alex Hornibrook will play or not. John McNulty made a good point about how Rutgers fans booed Mike Teel plenty and often called for the backup, having no idea what the drop off truly was, looks like Hornibrook falls in the same category. Even if Hornibrook doesn’t play, Jack Coan probably learned a lot last week and the Badgers should beat an RU team coming off a bye. This is an opportunity for Rutgers passing attack to finally get over the hump, but the crowd should be loud and Wisconsin can control the clock making it more difficult. Wisconsin has a better running attack AND will be more committed to it than Northwestern who wore RU out eventually. I’ll hedge that Alex Hornibrook will play ... Wisconsin 41, Rutgers 13
Dave White: Okay, this is short. I got a weird feeling about this game. Don’t know why. Don’t know how. Don’t know much about history. But let’s do this: Rutgers 21 Wisconsin 17
Jim Hoffman: I think Rutgers fans have sky-high hopes about this game. In my mind we are going to get hammered. Fans that point to the Northwestern game and say, “see, we kept it close against Northwestern, and they beat Wisconsin” are in for a disappointing surprise. I feel strongly that we were Northwestern’s “trap” game, and that is the only reason Rutgers stayed within reach. Add to that that Wisconsin now has a point to prove to show they are relevant, and I am afraid this is a game that is going to get very out of hand, very quickly. Saying that, I hope beyond hope that I’m dead wrong about this, but... Anyway, my prediction is Wisconsin 42 Rutgers 10
Aaron Breitman: There is a sentiment among some that Rutgers can keep this game close because Wisconsin is banged up and doesn’t have an explosive offense. I do not agree and the fact is Rutgers has failed to be competitive in any of the prior matchup’s against the Badgers. I don’t buy into the notion that since Rutgers played Northwestern tough, they have a chance against Wisconsin since they lost to the Wildcats last week. Johnathan Taylor, the former Rutgers commit, leads all of FBS in rushing and is coming off his worst game of the season last week. Facing his home state team, I’m sure he will be plenty motivated. The Badgers offensive line is going to bully the Rutgers D and I think they will run rampant all day. As for the offense, I do hope to see some improvement after the bye week, but I’m skeptical they can be productive enough to keep the game legitimately close. I don’t think this will be an epic blowout, but I think Wisconsin wins handedly. Wisconsin 38 Rutgers 7
Let us know what you think and make your prediction in the comment section.