Saturday night is the B1G championship game in Indianapolis, and the excitement is...palpable? Yes, palpable. We'll go with that.
Well, it is if you're a Nebraska or Wisconsin fan. To the winner goes a B1G championship and a trip to Pasadena to take on either UCLA or Stanford in the Rose Bowl. (Seriously, how is Oregon not even in the picture anymore? Weird, but that's why I love college football).
Legends division winner Nebraska takes on Leaders division
champion representative third place team Wisconsin, and it's a rematch of one of the more exciting games in the conference this year. Back on Sep. 29th, the Cornhuskers spotted Sconny a 27-10 third quarter lead before storming back to win 30-27. Wisconsin was able to take two Nebraska fumbles and convert them to touchdowns, but Nebraska's offense was able to move the ball all night. When the Huskers were able to not turn it over, they ran over, through, and around a tiring Badger defense and came away with a dramatic win in Lincoln.
Let's see what the OTE staff has to say about Saturday's tilt:
Ted Glover: In that September matchup, Nebraska largely beat themselves for two and a half quarters. They moved the ball all night, had over 250 yards rushing, and Taylor Martinez had an effective night passing the ball. After their loss in Columbus a week later, Nebraska has been arguably the conference's best and most consistent team in peeling off 6 straight wins. On the other side, Wisconsin has lost three of their last four. Nebraska is better than Wisconsin on both sides of the ball, and will win 27-16.
Graham Filler: Nebraska. By 10. Wisconsin is winning early and then they fall apart late after the Cornhusker rushing attack gets rollinHEYWAIT where have I seen this before?
Hilary Lee: Nebraska by 2. Because it would be very like Wisconsin to surprise everyone, lead the game for a while, and then lose again on another heartbreaking last second field goal. [ed note: FAKE ASS BADGER]
OTE Blogger Emeritus Bama Hawkeye: Badgers 24-20. Wisconsin is better than its record indicates. Nebraska probably isn't as good as its record indicates (And don't you Bill Parcells me.) Wisky lost 4 games by a FG and one by a TD --- 3 of those in OT. Nebraska had an injury (Denard), some miraculous comebacks (Northwestern and Wisconsin) and some striped help (Sparty) factor into four of those wins. It says here that these two trends even out eventually. I think Saturday night is the logical time for that to happen.
Besides, if it's really true that you can't spell Pellllini without 4 Ls, Nebraska needs to lock down L number three this weekend.
Chad Bell: Nebraska 31-17. Nebraska has enough answers on defense to handle the frankly pedestrian Wisconsin offense, and way too many weapons on offense (including Kenny Bell, who I think will have a big game) for Wisconsin's defense to handle. And who has Wisconsin beat this year? Anybody? Anybody? At least Nebraska has wins over Michigan/Northwestern on the resume.....
Jesse Collins: Nebraska 34-20... While I absolutely plan on regretting this prediction, especially the two score differential, this game looks good for Nebraska. Wisconsin has a good defense, but even in the first game, after turnovers were limited, the Husker offense steamrolled the Badgers. With Burkhead back and probably about as full strength as possible, three other RBs who would push for playing time anywhere in the nation, three of the best WRs in the conference, two excellent TEs, and a QB who has been pretty good in his own right, this offense will score points.
I also believe that Nebraska does not have to respect the pass which will allow Pelini to order up some run-stuffing. This will be a close game, but Nebraska will put the game away in the fourth and secure a trip to Pasadena. And yes, I have officially jinxed this team. I'm already punching holes in the wall.
Brian Gillis: I like Wisconsin in a close one. They're not the team they were in past seasons to be sure, but not only does their road loss to Oregon State not look as bad as it did in September, but they seem to have improved throughout the season, particularly in their ability to run the ball. Sure they're riding a two-game losing streak, but both of those losses were in overtime to good teams. While Nebraska has had a great conference run and seem to be destiny's darlings, particularly in wins over Northwestern, Michigan & Michigan State, I just don't see a consistency in their level of play. Look for Wisconsin to run the ball much better than they did in Lincoln en route to capturing a third consecutive conference crown.
MSULaxer27: I'm going for UW 24 NU-L 19. I'd love to see a team that went 4-4 in conference and 7-5 overall play USC at 7-5 in the Rose Bowl. Checks have already been cashed...do the teams even matter?
MN Wildcat: Man... I'll take UN-L 35, UW 27. But I don't like doing it. Between all the self-hating Nebraska fans and the "Hey, they're not that bad" Wisconsin comments, I don't know what to do. But I don't think Nebraska needs to respect Wisconsin's passing offense and can just focus on stuffing the run. Now watch Philtave'brien throw for 500 and 4 scores.
Babaoreally: I'm gonna go with Nebraska 31-20, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Badgers pull it out, because chaos.
So that's what we think will happen...what say you?