Dugan: What I’m Watching For This Weekend

59ab0a09681f8-imagePhoto: M.P. King | State Journal

Two weeks left. Time flies, huh? Not a lot of action this weekend, so I’m not watching for a whole lot—but I’m watching one game very, very closely.

Wisconsin has zero margin for error

At the end of the day, if Wisconsin finishes 12-0 plus a win in the Big Ten championship, they are 100% in, no ifs, ands, or buts. That is much easier said than done.

The Badgers are depleted with injuries and are facing a tough, physical Michigan team that suddenly has life offensively after a quarterback change. I talked about this a little in my video predictions, let’s dive a little deeper.

The way I see it, these teams are pretty similar. Physical, smash-mouth teams that decide a lot of games in the trenches. Michigan’s defensive front gives offensive coordinators nightmares, but this Wisconsin offensive line could be the best the Wolverines face all year. That means a couple of things:

  1. Michigan: Get to Alex Hornibrook and force him to make plays. If Michigan can do that, he’ll turn it over more than once.
  2. Wisconsin: Play to your strengths. The best play-maker in this game is going to wear white and red, and his name is Jonathan Taylor. USE HIM. He is THE playmaker for either team in a game that is going to feature a lot of slow, dull drives. If the Badgers can effectively use him, execute that one Wisconsin jet sweep that seems to work every week, and put together some long drives, they’ll win this one.

Bowl Game or Bust

The following teams currently sit at six losses and could see their postseason dreams vanish this weekend:

Nebraska, at Penn State: It’s over. Better luck next season with a new head coach.

Maryland, at Michigan State: DJ Durkin was poised for a huge year until he lost not one, not two, but three starting quarterbacks in the first half of the season. The future is bright in College Park, but this season seems to be over in terms of a bowl game.

Purdue, at Iowa: Purdue could very well win its final two games of the season. This one will undoubtedly be the tougher one, but it’s not impossible. Dip into that Jeff Brohm bag of tricks and see if they can pull this one out.

Rutgers at Indiana: Woof. This one will be u-g-l-y. Indiana’s inept play-calling on offense mixed with an injured Peyton Ramsey doesn’t bode well for a Rutgers team that still has something to play for in mid-November. This game will be tough to watch, with both sides showcasing their incompetent offenses. On the bright side, both have good futures under their current head coaches. Chris Ash turned the Scarlet Knights from a laughing stock to a 3-conference-win team, and Tom Allen has already made a splash in recruiting, and has a lot of talented youth in his offense. A bowl game will be likely for one team after Saturday, and it will certainly help whoever that is in maturing as a program.

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