Um, or the Bacon:
Whichever. The longest running rivarly in Division I. This will the the 118th meeting (Minnesota leads, 59-50-8).
Minnesota is without their star wide-receiver, Eric Decker, and quarterback Adam Weber appears to be backsliding. That's a good sign for Wisconsin's still-suspect secondary. Another good sign for the Badger defense is Minnesota is 11th in the Big Ten in rushing (if you're eleventh out of ten, you aren't very good).
The Badgers are fresh off of a beatdown of hapless Indiana that really got going when Jay Valai knocked the Hoosiers [already back-up] quarterback out of the game. While that was some tonic for what has ailed the Badgers this season, it doesn't convince me they have turned the corner.
Sherer has yet to prove he's the Badgers' quarterback for the future, but on the plus side, we bring the top rushing attack in the Big Ten against the 8th ranked rushing defense (and 8th in passing defense).
In offense vs. defense, (partially because of the Decker injury) the Badgers win on both sides of the ball. So if Minnesota is so lacking on offense and defense, how are they ahead of the Badgers in the Big Ten standings? Easy: they lead the league (+15) in turnovers (and Decker helped deliver the second ranked passing attack in the conference before he went out).
In short, the Badger should win if they hang onto the ball (so rush Clay and Brown more than Hill!). That said, the battle for the Axe, like any good rivalry, can get pretty crazy. In 1993 it brought me what remains the most painful Badger loss, in the Metrodome to a downright awful Goofer team, spoiling (just a little) an otherwise amazing year to be a Badger. The Goofs have had heartbreak of there own more recently:
(2005, Alvarez's last team; that's Casillas on the punt block -- #46 back then -- after Laurence Maroney had absolutely shredded the Badgers all day)
As recently as last season, a downright terrible Minnesota squad gave a pretty good, if slightly inconsistent, Badger team all they could handle.
So, what to expect? First, lots of yellow hankies; these are the two most-penalized teams in the Big Ten. Other than that, I see the Badgers pounding the ball all day long, but a couple of turnovers keep Minnesota lingering around until the 4th quarter, when Wisconsin finally puts them away.
In the recent past Camp Randall has been very good to Wisconsin against our Western neighbors (average margin of victory in last six home games: 22.5), and it will be again this year, bringing the Badgers one step closer to evening the score (with eight more to go).
One final heartwarming thought: