Last week, Montee Ball and the first-team offense scored on all eight of their possessions. The junior running back found paydirt on four of them. Despite sharing the backfield duties with James White, it looks like Ball's offseason improvements might give him the edge in the "Who's number one?" debate. If Ball can transcend into the elite, it could give him a real shot at the Heisman, and racking up some big yards and a few more scores on Saturday definitely would help.
2, Deja Vu
On Oregon State's first offensive play, Badgers fans might get the sense that they have seen it somewhere before. That's because Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst lists Oregon State head coach Mike Riley as a former employer. While Chryst has changed a few things since his stints with Riley, the offensive mastermind has added a few wrinkles. The familiarity with the OSU offense might give the Badgers defense a good chance at improving from last week's performance.
3, Agnew Agony
Oregon State's Malcolm Agnew was the lone positive for the Beavers in their loss to Sacramento State, rushing for 223 yards and three touchdowns. The bad news for the Beavers is Agnew suffered an injured hamstring at practice on Tuesday and was left in the Pacific Northwest. Without him, the Beaver offense looks like it may struggle against a Wisconsin defense looking for redemption.
4, Third Down
The Wisconsin defense struggled at times against UNLV, giving up 19 first downs and 292 total yards, but where they shined was on third down. The Badgers only allowed Rebel conversions on 2 of 12 third downs. On the other side of the ball, Wisconsin didn't really have much of a sample set, only reaching third down five times (converting twice). Oregon State struggled against Sacramento State on third down, allowing conversions on half of the Hornets' 14 third-down attempts. With dual threat Russell Wilson under center, third down could end up a strong point for the Badgers offense. Should they get there on Saturday, they may just show exactly how good they can be. Fun fact: Wilson was 2-for-2 on third down last week, completing a touchdown pass to Ball and rushing for 16 yards on a broken play.
5, Style Points
After the loss against Sacramento State, Oregon State doesn't exactly look like an impressive opponent. Then again, UNLV wasn't exactly LSU either. Wisconsin gained three spots in the AP poll, jumping a winning team, based mainly on the impressive play of the offense. If Wisconsin is going to make a push at a national title, they have to give another impressive performance against another lackluster team to keep drawing votes from the pollsters.
Oregon State couldn't even beat an FCS team in Corvallis, so its hard to imagine they will put up much of a fight on the road against a top 10 team. They should be itching to show that week one was a fluke, but so is the Wisconsin defense. The Wisconsin offense? They don't need motivation. Wisconsin should roll.
Wisconsin 48 Oregon State 13
Fearless Predictor: 1-0