The University of Wisconsin football team finally comes home to Madison as they look to take on the University of Iowa Saturday.
While it might not have actually been that long, it feels like a century since the last time the Badger played at Camp Randall. Wisconsin has been on the road for the past two weekends, with games against Illinois and Indiana both resulting in more wins for the Badgers.
While they were away, some major things happened for the UW. For starters, many important players found themselves on the injury list this week following two grueling weeks of play.
Wisconsin will be missing quite a few notable players against Iowa, including Chris Orr (left leg), Jazz Peavy (right leg) both ruled out earlier this week. Senior D’Cota Dixon (right leg) is listed as questionable for Saturday, but will most likely not play a full game.
Perhaps the most devastating blow for Wisconsin is the absence of Quintez Cephus, who was ruled out for the rest of the season with a right leg injury earlier this week. The sophomore receiver has been having quite the season, with 30 receptions resulting in 501 yards and six touchdowns for the Badgers.
While all of these injuries might cause some fans to worry about how Wisconsin will manage on Saturday, one has to remember the system that head coach Paul Chryst has been building this year. UW is one of the few teams in the Big Ten that don’t rely heavily on one player in every position, but rotates players in and out of a highly successful system when needed.
While Cephus, Orr and Peavy are all great assets to this team, there are others who are more than capable of taking their place and being beneficial assets for Wisconsin. The Badgers will rely on A.J. Taylor and Danny Davis to step up for the wide receivers, while Arington Farrar will fill in for Orr on defense.
As everyone knows, Iowa is coming off of a wildly successful weekend, in which the Hawkeyes managed to defeat Ohio State 55-24 last weekend. This victory caused a lot of commotion across the Big Ten, and made experts re-evaluate the match-up between the Badgers and the Hawkeyes.
What was supposed to be a walk in the park for Wisconsin now seemingly becomes a challenging game for them, with many saying that Iowa might be the first team to hand Wisconsin a loss this season. But, it has been a while since Wisconsin has fallen to Iowa at home, with the last Badger defeat happening during the 2008 season.
Iowa is also notably weaker on the road than they are at home, with a 1-2 record for away games and a 5-1 record for home games. If this matchup was happening in Iowa City, there might be some cause for concern for the Badgers, but since the hosting team is UW, there should be less of a problem.
This week is a crucial one for the Badgers, as they continue to chase their run for the College Football Playoffs later in the year. Right now, the Badgers are currently seeded eight overall in the selection, with a slough of southern schools taking up the top positions.
If playoffs started tomorrow, Wisconsin would not even find themselves in the running to play in the championship game, despite being one of the four teams that remains undefeated this season. With many overlooking the Badgers and using their “easy-schedule” to continue to drop them in the rankings, Wisconsin is going to have to continue having impressive performances if they want a chance to win the biggest hardware in college football.
The Hawkeyes and the Badgers face-off against each other Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Anyone who is not able to make the game can watch it live on ABC or listen live via Badger Sports Network.