As we approach the Wisconsin Badgers’ third conference game on Saturday, UW has the potential to reach its second straight Big Ten championship game at season’s end.
Wisconsin (5–0, 2–0 Big Ten) is currently the only ranked team in the Big Ten West and is firmly holding onto first place at 2–0 in conference play. The Badgers’ remaining opponents have a combined overall record of 19–14, and their conference records fail in comparison at 4–11.
ESPN’s Football Power Index gives Wisconsin a sizable advantage in each of its remaining games. Wisconsin’s FPI Matchup Percentage ratings are as follows: Purdue (3–2, 1–1) 94.5%; Maryland (3–2, 1–1) 94.9%; Illinois (2–3, 0–2) 97.4%; Indiana (3–2, 0–2) 83.5%; Iowa (4–2, 1–2) 86.5%; No. 17 Michigan (4–1, 1–1) 81%; and Minnesota (3–2, 0–2) 88%.
ESPN’s FPI gives Wisconsin the advantage in all remaining games with good reason, as the Badgers have outscored their opponents 201–71 this season and have only surrendered 21 second-half points. Nebraska crossed paydirt in the third quarter this past weekend, marking the first time an opposing team has done so on Wisconsin this season. Northwestern scored 14 against Wisconsin in the fourth quarter two weekends ago in a 33–24 Badgers win.
Wisconsin is led offensively by true freshman Jonathan Taylor, who leads the Big Ten with 767 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns and an average of 153.4 yards per game.
Taylor recorded a career-high 249 rushing yards and two touchdowns this past weekend at Nebraska to earn Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week honors. Taylor collected both awards for the second time in his brief collegiate career.
Defensively, Wisconsin is third in the Big Ten in both scoring defense (14.2 points per game) and total defense (273.8 yards per game).
Wisconsin has been staunch as well when the pressure is on, allowing opponents to convert on only 30.6 percent of their third-down…