The Badgers gave up 380 yards on offense last week. They also gave up 288 yards on special teams. That doesn't include a punt return touchdown that got called back. Had the call stood, ASU might have had more special teams yards than offensive yards. Yikes. A 52.2 yards per return average on five kickoffs won't end nearly as well if it happens against Ohio State or Iowa. Wisconsin needs to use this game to figure out a new kickoff coverage identity or the time of possession advantage won't look nearly as sweet come October.
2. Heisman hype
These are the types of games that Heisman trophies are made of. Thanks to the laugher against Portland State (227 yards, two TD), LaMichael James has nearly surpassed John Clay in yards and scores even after missing the 72-0 fiasco against New Mexico. If Clay wants to stay in the race for Heisman (and more importantly, high on the running back draft board), he needs to rack up big numbers.
3. Make a statement
Clay isn't the only one that could benefit from some flair in this game. After a couple non-convincing wins, the Badgers could use a blowout to rebuild their fading image. While the Big Ten season is where it counts, if the BCS committee is choosing between a one loss Wisconsin and a one loss Texas for a spot in a BCS bowl, a 31-17 victory over a cupcake to go with the one-point home win against ASU and the lackluster effort against San Jose State might hurt the Badgers.
4. Health Watch
Last week, UW Medflight did a flyover. After that, it seemed everyone wanted a ride as numerous Badgers, including Chris Borland and JJ Watt, came off the field with the aid of the training staff. It's time to get healthy fast, because the Big Ten schedule is right around the corner. It would also be nice to get the score high enough to use some backups for an extended period, getting them up to game speed in case they need to step in.
5. Abbre'deris' to double you
Jared Abbrederis has done a good job so far in blending in and getting decent numbers basically unnoticed. That changes with Nick Toon and David Gilreath out. Last week, he saw some better coverage and his numbers dropped off a little. This week could be the official coming out party, and with Toon coming back in a week, the Badgers receiving corps could give opposing defensive coordinators fits.
The return of the fearless prediction
The Governers managed to give up 56 points and almost 700 yards to a Middle Tennessee State team that even Minnesota beat. Wisconsin should roll in this one, and I predict they finally get it together and do it.
Wisconsin 48 Austin Peay 10