Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 6/12/13
Good news, Badgers fans. If you attend a Wisconsin homefootball game in 2013, the folks who produce Athlon Sports' college footballmagazine believe you'll leave satisfied with a victory.The bad news? Don't count on similar success for the Badgersaway from home.Steven Lassan, the magazine's college football editor,recently released his predictions for the upcoming Big Ten season. And thoughhe forecasts a 7-0 regular season at Camp Randall Stadium for Wisconsin, healso has the Badgers finishing just 2-3 on the road, with losses to ArizonaState, Ohio State and Iowa.That amounts to a 9-3 record, including 6-2 in the Big Ten.Lassan predicts Ohio State will finish the regular season 12-0 (8-0 in theLeaders Division), beat Michigan in the Big Ten title game and compete againstAlabama in the national championship. In other words, Wisconsin's run of threestraight Big Ten titles and two appearances in the conference championshipgame is over.But before fans aim their vitriol at Lassan, he insiststhere is a legitimate formula behind picking each game. He is among a group ofeight editors at Athlon that make decisions on the outcomes of every FBS game.Though they do not guess game scores, they do grade themselves on accuracy oftheir win-loss totals each season."We essentially will lock ourselves in a room forhowever long it takes," Lassan told FOXSportsWisconsin.com. "Whetherit's the Big Ten or whether it's the MAC, we go through every conference. We'vegot just pages and pages of data between the win totals for teams over the lastcouple years, who they return, who they lose, recruiting, schedule, results.Really anything you can think of. We spend as much time as we need."Of the three losses predicted for Wisconsin, the defeat atIowa would seem to be the most disputed. Iowa is coming off a 4-8 season,including 2-6 in the Big Ten."I know it maybe seems a little far-fetched,"Lassan said. "By the end of the year, Iowa will have a better handle ontheir starting quarterback, but also upsets are going to happen in the BigTen."The rest of Athlon Sports' predictions for UW appear tomatch up well with early point spreads.Last week, The Golden Nugget released 250 college footballpoint spreads for 2013, and Wisconsin was featured in six of those games. TheBadgers are favorites in four games: Northwestern (6 points), BYU (8 points),Minnesota (10 points) and Penn State (9 points). Ohio State is an 11-pointfavorite against Wisconsin, while the Wisconsin-Arizona State game is listed asa pick em.The Golden Nugget did not release a point spread for theWisconsin-Iowa game.Lassan said the biggest factors holding Wisconsin back fromcatching Ohio State are quarterback play and uncertainty in the secondary.Junior college transfer Tanner McEvoy is expected to come in and compete forUW's starting quarterback job this fall, but Lassan predicted Joel Stave wouldbeat out Curt Phillips for the position. Phillips took over as the team'sstarter last season when Stave broke his collarbone in a game against MichiganState."I just think he was efficient last year," Lassansaid of Stave. "I thought he was their best quarterback when he washealthy. It gives them probably the best chance to win in the passinggame."In addition to quarterback and secondary questions atWisconsin, Lassan noted Ohio State was further ahead in its coachingtransition. Wisconsin's Gary Andersen took over in December, while Urban Meyeris beginning his second season in charge of Ohio State's program.In his second season at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida,Meyer went a combined 34-4 (.894 winning percentage). Of course, he also is116-23 overall (.834)."He's generally been very good in his secondyear," Lassan said. "They've also got Braxton Miller at quarterback.He's a little bit more dynamic I think on offense."If Lassan's predictions come true, Wisconsin will finishsecond in the Leaders Division for the first and only time. The Big Ten willmove to East and West divisions beginning in 2014. Lassan's final LeadersDivision standings look like this: Ohio State (8-0), Wisconsin (6-2), PennState (4-4), Indiana (3-5), Purdue (2-6), Illinois (1-7).Athlon also put together rankings for all 125 FBS teams.Unlike other preseason polls, Lassan said Athlon Sports attempts to predictwhere teams will be in the final rankings of the season. Athlon has Wisconsinranked No. 19 in the country. Only Ohio State (No. 2) and Michigan (No. 14) areranked ahead of the Badgers among Big Ten teams. Nebraska is ranked No. 21 andNorthwestern No. 24."I think Wisconsin is solid," Lassan said. "Iwouldn't be surprised to see them get to 10 wins." Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter
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