2009 record: 6-2 (3-2)
2008 record: 7-6 (3-5), lost to Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl
2008 Sagarin: 61
2009 Sagarin: 23
Coach: Bret Bielema (4th season, 34-13)
Series: Wisconsin leads 35-18-2
TV: noon, Big Ten Network
Blog: Bucky's Fifth Quarter
Here is the Badgers' NCAA resume. After declining from 12-1 to 9-4 to 7-6 in Bret Bielema's second and third season, he and the Badgers seem to have reversed the trend. Wisconsin is 6-2 and has lost only to Ohio State and Iowa. With IU, Michigan, Northwestern, and Hawaii remaining, a 10-2 season is far from a longshot for the Badgers. Wisconsin has returned to the Barry Alvarez blueprint, with a strong defense and a power runner in the backfield. The Badgers rank #22 nationally in total defense and #22 in rushing offense.
John Clay has run for 839 yards and 10 touchdowns and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. The Badgers' pass game has been less than overwhelming: Scott Tolzien has stepped in as the starter and is completing 62 percent of his passes. He has thrown 9 TD passes but 8 interceptions. Last year's starter, Dustin Sherer, brother of IU's Chad Sherer, is now the third stringer. Nick Toon, Isaac Anderson, and Garrett Graham all have comparable receiving stats for Wisconsin. On defense, again the Badgers are very good overall, particularly the rushing defense, and O'Brien Schofield has 6.5 sacks.
After a five-year winning streak against the Badgers from 1986 to 1992, the Hoosiers have struggled against Wisconsin. Upsets in 2001 and 2002 are IU's only wins over Wisconsin in the last 16 seasons. Unfortunately, because the game was not televised (if I recall correctly), I can't find any video of the 63-32 beatdown from 2001, but here are the waning moments of the 2002 upset on a rainy day in Bloomington:
I have no idea what to think of this game. IU needs two wins in the next three games to become bowl-eligible. Of course, the Purdue game is a must-win in that regard, and beating Wisconsin at home seems more likely than beating Penn State on the road. Of course, in a 30 or 45 minute game, IU can beat anyone, but let's hope IU finds a way to play a complete game against the Badgers and ensure that the rest of the season matters.