Wisconsin Badgers vs. Indiana Hoosiers
Date and Time: Saturday, November 4, 2017, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
Opening College Football Odds: Wisconsin -9
Wisconsin vs. Indiana TV Coverage: ABC
Another game. Another solid, yet utterly unimpressive win for the Badgers.
For the eighth game in a row, Wisconsin was a double-digit favorite. For the eighth game in a row, it won by at least eight points. And for the eighth game in a row, the only reason why the needle keeps moving ever so slightly in the Badgers' favor is because they're one of the five teams left in college football without a loss.
Still, the Badgers have no choice but to keep winning. Anything less than 13-0 won't be good enough to get into the College Football Playoff, and we're not even all that sure that a single loss to a team like Indiana parlayed with a loss in the Big Ten Championship Game would be good enough to sew up a spot in the New Year's Six either.
The Hoosiers might be 0-5 in conference play, but they still deserve some respect. They started with games against Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State, and those last two were definitely steps in the right direction with defeats coming in overtime to the Wolverines and by just eight points against the Spartans. Last week's 42-39 loss at Maryland was a big disappointment, but it was yet another case of a young team failing to come through in the clutch when opportunity presented itself.
Freshman Patrick Ramsey was beaten up last week by Maryland's defense. He hung in there and went 31-for-41 for 279 yards and three touchdowns, but he was picked off once and had to come out of the game twice due to injury.
Should Ramsey not be able to give it a go on Saturday, it'll be up to veteran Richard Lagow to take over again under center. Lagow was the quarterback for the Hoosiers earlier in the season before ceding his job to the freshman.
Freshman Jonathan Taylor's Heisman Trophy hopes were always a bit on the slim side heading into Week 9, but whatever dreams he had were shattered when he went down with a left leg injury in the second quarter last week against Indiana.
The Badgers only had a total of 104 yards of offense in the second half with Taylor out of the lineup.
It's still far too early in the week to know if Taylor is going to be out for this game against Indiana or not, but what we do know is that Garrett Groshek and Bradrick Shaw aren't adequate replacements. These two carried the ball 27 times for just 91 yards in Taylor's absence last week, and that won't cut it for a team that isn't used to putting any pressure whatsoever on Alex Hornibrook to throw the pigskin.
Wisconsin vs. Indiana Free Picks
All of the top online sportsbooks are expecting to report good action from sharps on Indiana in this one. The Hoosiers aren't particularly huge underdogs at +9, and this might ultimately end up representing the toughest spot on Wisconsin's schedule the rest of the way. It's the Badgers' last home game before going to Minnesota on November 25 to end the regular season.
That said, we think Wisconsin is set to deliver a message to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, one that we would bet is going to leave it out of the top-four with its first rankings that come out on Tuesday. The Badgers haven't really murdered anyone in weeks and weeks, and outside of that second half against Nebraska, they haven't really looked the part of a dominant team.
Disinterest will go by the wayside on Saturday afternoon in Bloomington. A very dangerous Indiana team will end up going quietly.
College Football ATS Pick: Wisconsin -9 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Wisconsin 42, Indiana 17