Badger Nation's Five Keys to Victory

Badger Nation's Brad Fedie takes his look at the Five Keys to Victory against the Hawaii Warriors, where a victory would give UW a perfect 4-0 non-conference record and the Badgers a nine-win season.

1. Red 42, Blue 38 ... Hey look, a palm tree!

Yes, it's Hawaii, but this isn't a vacation. Between snorkel trips and volcano tours, there's a lot to distract a visiting team. The Badgers need to make sure their minds are on the Hawaii Warriors, not the Hawaii luau girls. A lot is at stake with the loss to Northwestern and losing to Hawaii could drop the Badgers in the bowl picture.

2. Air raid

With 107 yards on the ground and 349 yards through the air, you would think that Hawaii likes to pass, right? Right. Considering the Badgers are great against the run and only decent against the pass, you can bet the Warriors are sending some leather via air. Greg Salas is the one to watch for. Salas has had at least six receptions in every game this season and has racked up 1,559 yards on 103 receptions. Shutting him down will make things downright easy for Wisconsin.

3. Clay day

John Clay's last play was a fumble that cost the Badgers a good shot at winning the game at Northwestern. Clay should be fully motivated to take advantage of the Warriors mediocre defense as his candidacy for Big Ten MVP (where he is a finalist with Penn State's Daryll Clark and Michigan's Brandon Graham) and more important, his potential draft stock, could rise with a big game.

4. Bret's December wish

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema got his wish. The Badgers are playing in December. While it really doesn't have an effect on this game, (or at least you would hope not) Wisconsin could use this game as a springboard to a good bowl performance. A flat performance could make it absolutely useless. Saturday's game is as much about January 1st as it is about December 5th.

5. A Tiger in Warriors clothing

In keeping with key #4, this game could be a good time to try out some things they might use against the SEC member in the Outback Bowl, and Wisconsin's likely opponent, Auburn. While the two teams are completely different, Saturday's game can be a helpful tool in preparing for the bowl game. Think of it as the non-conference games before the Big Ten season.

Fedie's Fearless Prediction:

Even with all the possible distractions, Wisconsin should roll. Hawaii was crushed by Fresno State at home. A win against Navy last week has given the former Rainbows confidence, but the balanced Badger offense will be too much to overcome.

Wisconsin 38, Hawaii 17

Fearless Fedie: 9-2

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