September 17, 2010

Game preview: Arizona State (2-0) at Wisconsin (2-0)

Arizona State Sun Devils (2-0) at Wisconsin Badgers (2-0), 2:30 PM CT

Well, at least we're playing a somewhat credible opponent, even if they are expected to finish 9th in the Pac 10. I'm hoping to see the Badgers bounce back from their general carelessness in their last 2 games (especially the SJSU game), and hopefully having a real opponent here will wake the team up, though playing Austin Peay next week won't help much on that front.

I love how the UW Badgers website has billed this as a "clash of unbeatens", as if that means anything in the quasi-preseason.

Badgers injuries
KR Gilreath (concussion) and WR Nick Toon (turf toe) are both expected to miss the game. Honestly I'm surprised that Gilreath can even walk, let alone practice, following that nasty hit last week. RT Oglesby will probably be kept out this game too. LB and returning defensive rookie of the year Chris Borland will return tomorrow, further bolstering the Badgers' excellent linebacking corps.

ASU's quarterback is Steven Threet, who Badgers fans might remember from Michigan's 3-win season (the Appalachian State year) a few years back. I'd laugh at them for it, except UM beat the Badgers that year in a game that Threet led them back from a 19 point deficit in the 4th quarter at the Big House. He's now ASU's QB and has put up a QB rating of 157 in 2 games against the perennial powerhouses North Arizona and Portland State. We'll see how they do against a credible team. For what it's worth Tolzien has put up a QB rating of 147 against the crappy opponents UW has played, so I guess it doesn't mean much. I would bet he's probably better than Tolzein.

How the Badgers win this game

What do you want to do tonight Brain this week, Bret?

The same thing we do every week - try to take over the world run the ball down their throats.

You can't really say much about ASU's run defense given their opponents so far (and the scores they ran up on them). Their defense was top rated in the Pac-10 last year, and their secondary is especially good. However, I still expect UW to run all over them.

How the Badgers lose this game
They make a few dumb mistakes early and have to rely on Tolzein's arm. As I mentioned above ASU's secondary is apparently pretty good, and Tolzein's top 2 WRs are out this week. However, I think both of them are pretty mediocre anyway (especially Gilreath) so there shouldn't be a big dropoff.

Badgers win, 30-17

The Vegas spread is 13 points, which seems just right to me. I think Clay rushes for 2 TDs, Tolzein hooks up with Anderson for one, and Ball or White pick one up too.

Predictions in other B10 games of interest:
Iowa 27 - 17 Arizona
Notre Dame 17 - 21 MSU
USC 1,000,00 - 3 Minnesota