On to Brigham Young.
Vegas sees this as a UW eight point victory, but BYU enters the game on a nice five game winning streak, the last four of which have come against solid opponents: Utah State, Georgia Tech, Houston and Boise State. Early losses to mediocre squads like Virginia and Utah seem to be in the rear view mirror.
The Five Keys
Will the Badger star linebacker be 100 percent? He will need to be as a counter to BYU's star quarterback Taysom Hill. Hill really is a dual threat in every sense of the word; he leads the team in rushing yards per game at 105 and yards per carry at 5.9. He is not the most accurate passing quarterback Wisconsin will face, having completed 52.9 percent of his passes and thrown eight interceptions, but he's thrown for over 2,000 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Borland would be a key offset against any dual-threat quarterback as he will limit the running lanes in the middle of the field. Scrambling quarterbacks rely on pulling down the ball when nothing is available and the smart Badgers linebacker is a natural counter to shutting down yardage gains from rushing when the coverage is solid. Key matchup: Borland vs. Hill. If Borland is healthy, the Badgers win. If not …
2, Badger tailbacks vs. BYU back 7
The top five leading tacklers for BYU are all in the back seven, four being linebackers and one a defensive back (Austen Jorgensen, one of the BYU linebackers, will not play against the Badgers). This greatly favors UW as Melvin Gordon is a problem for defenders to try and tackle in the open field. If you can stop him at the line, you can keep Gordon from beating you single handedly, but there are few college defensive backfields that can control the Badgers star. Key matchup: Gordon vs. BYU linebacker Uani Unga. Unga is the leading tackler for BYU, if he can keep MGIII from breaking big runs BYU has a chance.
Last week's Iowa defensive game plan will probably be used as a blueprint by the BYU staff. Expect them to crowd the line of scrimmage with their solid linebackers and force Joel Stave to convert. This has been a year-long pattern against the Badgers.
3, Pressure on Joel Stave
Stave showed some improvement in moving around in the pocket against Iowa, gaining yardage on several runs. He will need his composure, as BYU's linebacker Kyle Van Hoy has 11 tackles for loss, six passes broken up and 11 QB hurries. Key matchup: Badgers blocking backs vs. Van Noy. It will be interesting to see if UW opts to go with fullback Derek Watt on more plays than usual. Neither White nor Gordon is the most accomplished pass blocker and Stave will need the extra protection on passing downs.
4, Game day advantage
Note this isn't strictly home field advantage. Camp Randall will be a plus for the Badgers, but the 2:30 kick off mitigates some of the home field advantage, as western teams struggle with 11 a.m. central time starts. The extra factor will be the weather; potentially high winds should help the Badgers as BYU will be more reliant on the passing game.
5, Abbrederis for 7
With BYU's strong linebackers this probably won't be a great game for UW tight ends. If the Badgers need to move the safeties off the line of scrimmage it will probably be the responsibility of Abbrederis to do so. Nothing new here, but No.4 has been fighting small injuries all year.
Fearless Prediction: UW wins a well-played football game, 32-22. Borland returns and makes some eye-popping tackles (ala the suplex of Taylor Martinez in the 2012 Big Ten Championship game) against a scrambling Hill.