The Wisconsin Badgers were supposed to be the cream of the B1G, the shining beacon standing out from the muddy crowd. Two straight hail mary losses later and the Badgers are once again just part of the pack, one of eight teams still technically eligible to make the league's inaugural championship game. This week they finally return home, playing in the day time against a Purdue Boilermakers club that should be overmatched. Judging from the low confidence level of Hammer And Rails blogger BoilerTMill, the Badgers should bounce back with a vengeance.
To be quite honest, it doesn't look good. Wisconsin is the team in the conference we have our longest active losing streak against, as we haven't beaten them since the game before The Fumble. Before the season started I felt this was the game we were least likely to win. With the Badgers dropping two in a row in heartbreaking fashion it is possible they are a bit demoralized. Any chance at the national title is gone. The Big Ten title hopes have taken a major hit. Everything they have worked for has gone up in smoke so maybe they are falling apart.
It's not likely, but that's about the only hope we have.
While it's true that the Badgers' have had their confidence shaken, a second straight Rose Bowl appearance is still in the cards if they can regain their composure. As Bucky's 5th Quarter points out, the Badgers are down but not out.
Part of Wisconsin's success early in the season was that their opponents were beating themselves. That's not to discount the first six wins the Badgers earned this year, but there were clearly games where Wisconsin was handed a victory. There were two punts by opponents earlier this season that generated more laughs than yards. Plays like that allowed the Badgers to avoid adversity early this season. But Ohio State and Michigan State played the type of football that gave them a chance to win at the end of the game, and they both capitalized on that chance.
But this Wisconsin team can still have a special year. A Big Ten Championship, or maybe even a BCS at-large, are still reasonable goals. The Badgers just have to be confident that they can win every remaining game, because there's no question that they are talented enough to do just that.
Purdue has looked capable in a win over Illinois two weeks ago and a close loss to Penn Sate before that. Still, don't count on the Boilermakers leaving Madison with what would be a season-defining win.
Game date, time: 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, Nov. 5
Location: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
TV channel: ABC, ESPN 2, ESPN 3
Spread: Wisconsin favored by 26
Series history: Wisconsin leads, 41-29-8
For further reading, news, discussion and more, visit Wisconsin blog Bucky's 5th Quarter and Purdue blog Hammer and Rails. Here’s the complete Week 10 college football TV schedule, and stay tuned to SB Nation’s college football news hub for more.