Wisconsin -8 over Oregon St.
After a sluggish start to their Big Ten title defense, the 13th-ranked Badgers head to Corvallis to face Oregon State on Saturday. Wisconsin held off FCS opponent Northern Iowa 26-21 in its season opener last Saturday, holding on after leading 26-7 in the fourth quarter. Heisman Trophy candidate Montee Ball rushed for 120 yards and scored a touchdown for the 21st consecutive game. Wisconsin isn't about to complain about its opening victory, no matter how unimpressive it may have been. Quarterback Danny O'Brien threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns while handling the pressure of his first start for the Badgers after transferring from Maryland. He also has the task of replacing Russell Wilson who is now the Seattle Seahawks' starter.
Wisconsin is the favorite to claim its third straight league title and has won 33 straight regular season non-conference games, the second-longest streak in the nation behind LSU's 38. The Badgers have gone 11-2-1 since 1993 against Pac-12 opponents, with the only two losses to Oregon. Now they have the challenge of facing the Beavers, who had their season opener against Nicholls State postponed last weekend due to Hurricane Isaac. The Badgers handed Oregon State a 35-0 drubbing last season in Madison and won the teams' only other meeting back in 1961. This is their first trip to Corvallis.
Nicholls State's inability to fly out of Louisiana last week has left Oregon State in an unusual situation. The Beavers also have a bye next week, meaning they will have played only one game by the time they start Pac-12 play against UCLA on Sept. 22. The postponement of the opener also led to a bit of gamesmanship between Bielema and Riley. Since there is no 2012 game tape of Oregon State to request, Bielema refused to approve sending the Beavers the traditional coaches' film that features angles other than what was shown on television - and even went as far as making sure the conference office followed suit. The Beavers are coming off a 3-9 season in 2011, the school's second straight losing record. Quarterback Sean Mannion, who took over as a freshman early last season, threw for 3,332 yards with 16 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
Improvement will be most critical for UW’s defense who gave up three second-half touchdowns to Northern Iowa which allowed them to get back in the game. Instead of playing 40 solid minutes of football, the defensive unit will be looking for a more complete effort. Expect the Badgers to win their twelfth straight regular season non-conference game on the road, but not in shut-out fashion.. However the defense will respond to the costly errors they committed against UNI. While the Beavers have a shot at making this a game, their run-defense is way too large of a liability when playing the Badgers. Oregon’s States biggest obstacle will be fixing their run defense that ranked 101st in the nation (196.8 rushing yards per game). Ball and company carved up the Beavers to a tune of 208 yards last year. Best of luck however you play!