It's always around this time of year that I begin to sound like a child on a road trip to Disney land. Are we there yet? Are we done with non-con play? No? Awwwwww. The first two weeks of the college football season are exciting because I've missed it for so long. The third week sometimes feels a bit stale, but it's really in the fourth week that I get the most frustrated.
As Bama noted earlier today, this week's schedule sucks. It just plain sucks. The game for Wisconsin -- against the University of South Dakota -- is no exception. Unlike last week, when both Ricardo and I thought there was at least some chance that the game between the Badgers and NIU would be close, neither of us is under that illusion this week. Barring some terrible tragedy, Wisconsin will win this game. By a lot. Because of the lack of suspense, this week's over-undercard is a bit abridged. We'll do a more complete recap of the competition so far next week when we put together the card for what will surely be an epic Nebraska game. For now, here's this week's edition of the over-undercard...
Week Four Over-Undercard:
1) If you look simply at the scoreboard, it would appear Wisconsin is playing near flawless football. Those of us watching closely know that to be not the case. For the pessimists and the cynics among us, there is downright worry for concern. The chief culprit? Penalties. And many of them by the offensive line. In the first three quarters (ideally the Badgers' starters will be out by the second, but let's assume they stick around into the third), how many penalties will the Badgers' front wall commit?
Ricardo: 1. These guys were upset about their performance against Oregon State, a game where the line finally came alive in the second quarter (assisted by a passing attack that forced the safeties back and got the ninth and occasional tenth man in the box to back out). That was followed up by a dud first quarter against Northern Illinois (which also stacked the box). I'm betting Bielema and Bostad lit a fire under someone's ass. One ticky-tack hold or a lapse by Rob Havenstein (freshman making his first start for the injured Josh Oglesby) mar an otherwise solid performance against an over-matched opponent.
Hilary: 3. Yeah, I'm not nearly as optimistic as Ricardo on this front. While I certainly expect that the Badgers will easily win this romp, I would not at all be surprised if the players are looking past this game towards next week. It now seems like, just as with last year, Wisconsin will play host to both a marquee conference opponent and ESPN's College Gameday when Nebraska comes to town. Given that, I fully expect that this game against the Coyotes will be sloppier than I'd like.
2) An FCS school. In Camp Randall. A program that eight years ago channeled its inner-reverse Appalachian State. At the half, by how many points will Wisconsin be winning?
Ricardo: 35. I was fortunate enough to miss narrowly playing against Jake Sprague in high school. Sprague played on two Rose Bowl winners at Wisconsin, and is now the defensive coordinator at South Dakota. Let me put it this way: the lines he played on at Oak Creek High School were significantly bigger than the one he now coaches at an FCS school. To top it off, they're in a base 3-4. Three down linemen. Against Wisconsin's offensive line. Let's just go ahead and predict there will be even less resistance than there was against Northern Illinois. You might counter that South Dakota knocked off Minnesota last year. I'll just thank you for reminding me and start laughing.
Hilary: Uhhhhhm.... 28? Like Ricardo up there, I think this game is a total laugher. And I fully expect an absolutely ridiculous score by the end of the game, but 35 seems a bit much after only two quarters (oh who am I kidding I'm almost certainly wrong on this one). I guess it just depends on how much attention Bielema pays to "the card."
3) Nick Toon has a penchant, not just for drops, but for drops that cause Ricardo to break into spontaneous, profanity-laced haikus (What Saves Small Corner? Quick Lapse of Concentration. Oh fucking bullocks.) How many drops will Nick Toon have this week?
Ricardo: 1. Against an FCS opponent I anticipate Toon has one lapse, netting his first drop of the year.
Hilary: 0. HOORAY! I get to be the Toon optimist this week! I've been burned on this question before, so it is with the enthusiasm of a Bob Barker obsessed Price is Right contestant (yes, I know, Drew Carey hosts the show now, but to me there will only ever be Bob Barker) I go for the undercutting bid. $1 Bob!!
So that's where we are this week... What do you think?