5 Things to Watch For: Buckeye Edition

We’re only two days away from the biggest game on the schedule. Win this, and I could conceivably see running the table and returning to the Big Ten Championship game. Lose it, and who knows where the Badgers end up.

I’m ready if you are.

1)      Can the Badgers fight off the Buckeyes’ opening punch.

I brought this up during the Arizona State game, but there is a difference. In the Sun Devil game, I didn’t think a quick start from the home team meant a definite loss. I do think that with this game. If Ohio State gets up a couple touchdowns in the first quarter, it’s going to be nearly impossible to comeback. I’m still on the Stave bandwagon for now, but overall, I don’t think Wisconsin has the passing game to fight back against a solid team.

2)      Is this the week a second receiver finally emerges?

As I discussed in the first point, this is what scares me the most about coming back in a game this year. Yeah, Stave hasn’t been perfect, but other than Abbrederis, no one has stepped up as a legitimate threat. This hurts the passing game as a whole as the defense knows who to focus on, which keeps Stave from being comfortable.

The great thing about Abbrederis is that the extra attention doesn’t seem to bother him. He still gets open and gets his catches (which is just about anything he can get his fingertips on). He’d be scary good if he had someone else step-up and get a few catches opposite of him.

3)      How will the Buckeyes handle their quarterback situation?

We go from the problems of the Badgers passing game to the “problem” of the Buckeyes passing game. And man, what a great problem to have. Everything this week has pointed towards Braxton Miller getting the start at quarterback and who would have guessed at the start of the year that anyone would discuss this fact.

Enter Kenny Guiton.

Guiton impressed the country while lighting up some underwhelming defenses, but it looks like he’ll be back to backing up Miller. Miller has shown in the past that he is a solid choice, but you have to wonder if Meyer will make a decision if Miller starts the game slow or shows some rust from being off the last few weeks. This could be a negative for a team with a poor coach, but sadly, I see Urban Meyer handling the situation professionally.

4)      Who wins the coaching battle?

I bring this up because of the solid relationship the two coaches have. They know each other well and while Andersen said they wouldn’t be talking this week, you know both would love to best the other one this weekend.

Also, on the coaching topic, I think it’s been interesting seeing the lead up to the game now that there is a different leader on the Badger sideline. All the talk has been about respecting the opposing team and coach, which is a nice change of pace.

5)      Will Wisconsin vary its rushing attack?

The old bread and butter. Week after week Melvin Gordon has shown us that he’s the real deal in this three-headed rushing attack. Andersen appears to be willing to stay with the rotation, which is fine, but it’s tough not to imagine Gordon’s numbers with a few more carries each week.

Will Andersen keep it the same? Would giving Gordon more carries actually hurt him as potentially the slight change of pace between him and James White could be helping the numbers? Either way, this is a primetime game against a team that hasn’t lost in two years. If Gordon has an explosive night and the Badgers walk out with a win, look for a new leader in the race for the Heisman.

                Well there you have it. It should be a great game, and I’ll actually be in Vegas for a bachelor party, watching it with a Buckeye fan. I’m sure I’ll be betting with my heart, so let’s hope the Badgers come out on top.

Are there things you’ll be watching for that we haven’t listed? Tell us your thoughts by leaving a comment below or by following us on Twitter.


Jay Swenson

About Jay Swenson

Jay is a Badger fan currently living in Central Illinois. He has written for several newspapers as a freelance writer, and was the Western Illinois basketball beat writer while in graduate school.