Recommendation: 1* Take Alabama – Wisconsin UNDER
Wisconsin has gone through a major transformation since the last time the Badgers took the field; an overtime win against Auburn in the Outback Bowl.
Head coach Gary Anderson left Madison for Corvallis, leaving the program in the hands of Paul Chryst, who went 19-20 in three years as the head coach at Pitt. Chryst has brought in a new offensive coordinator, Joe Rudolph.
A new coach and a new offense is only one piece of the puzzle for the Badgers. Yes, Wisconsin returns senior quarterback Joel Stave, but Stave is a game manager on a good day, a long way from being an elite level QB. Last year, he completed only 110 passes, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. Wisconsin’s receiving corps isn’t littered with playmakers, and they’ve got a big void to fill at running back, with Melvin Gordon going in the first round of the NFL draft.
But the biggest problem for Wisconsin heading into this matchup with Alabama is on their offensive line; an injury riddled mess throughout camp. Three starters are gone from last year’s squad, including an All American and a first team All Big 10 performer. The revamped OL has battled numerous injuries throughout camp, leaving the line particularly unsettled heading into the opener. Offensive coordinator Rudolph: "We've kind of bounced around at [right guard and right tackle] because of injuries so I'm hoping it settles down …We'll see how the rest of this week plays out."
That’s not the kind of quote I’m looking for from a team about to face Alabama’s national championship caliber defense. The Crimson Tide are likely to send at least half a dozen defenders to the NFL next year, including defensive linemen A’Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen. Alabama ranked #4 nationally against the run last year and gave up only five rushing TD’s all season. I’m not expecting the Badgers offense to enjoy a big night.
But Alabama has significant offensive concerns of their own; namely, a new quarterback. And none of their QB’s have stood out and claimed the job in camp, with senior Jake Coker battling junior Alex Morris and sophomore Cooper Bateman. That’s three QB’s getting snaps with the first string offense, an offense that lost a half dozen starters to the NFL this past offseason. It’s a brand new offensive line, a brand new receiving corps and an untested, unproven brand new quarterback; a classic ‘Saban goes conservative’ type of situation. I’m expecting a defensive struggle and a dearth of big plays for both offenses from start to finish. Take the Under.
Right now -- TODAY -- is the optimal time to get onboard with a weekly, monthly or seasonal package to ensure that you'll get every play, every day in every sport! Don't miss Teddy's first college football winners of the brand new season!