Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 9/27/12

Excitement, mystery and revenge are just a few of the words that can be used to describe the start of the conference season for the Wisconsin Badgers and Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Both teams look to move forward from what was a disappointing non-conference slate from not only their-selves, but the entire Big Ten conference as a whole.

The Badgers are still searching for their offensive identity and the Huskers still have a bad taste in their mouth from the 48-17 drubbing Wisconsin handed them to open the conference season in Madison last year.


Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-1) Analysis: Considered by many to be the best team in the Big Ten, Nebraska boasts a potent offense which put up an astounding 73 points on Idaho State last week. Their offense begins and ends with junior quarterback Taylor Martinez. Against UW last season, he had a terrible time while throwing three interceptions. He also struggled in the loss at UCLA this season, throwing a pick which went for a score late in the game. Martinez isn’t the only one who has hiccups on this offense as they tend to beat themselves with penalties, something head coach Bo Pelini is looking to correct before conference play.

The job in front of the defense is to stop the Badgers heavy-volume run game and contain wide-out Jared Abbrederis. Look for defensive back Josh Mitchell to match-up with Abbrederis and use his speed to take one of the most important pieces away from Wisconsin’s offensive attack. The Huskers have struggled against the run so far this season, giving up 177 yards per game, so they know where to focus. Wisconsin will be hard-pressed to have a huge day on the ground after UCLA shredded Nebraska for 344 yards on 56 attempts.

Wisconsin Badgers (3-1) Analysis: In a 37-26 win over UTEP, the Badgers showed glimpses of what their offense should look like. Despite losing Montee Ball to a concussion in the first half (still not known if he will play in this game), the running game was a success. James White is morphing into a more all-around back and Melvin Gordon had a coming-out party with 112 yards on just eight attempts. A lot will hinge on redshirt freshman Joel Stave making just his second start of the season in the most hostile environment he will probably ever see.

On the defensive side, linebacker Chris Borland is coming off a week where he was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. He posted 12 tackles (3.5 for a loss) and a career-high two sacks to help the Badgers’ defense hold UTEP to just 77 rushing yards on 33 attempts. Through four games, they are allowing only 80.8 rushing yards per game (13th in the nation). It will be critical for them to keep Nebraska’s Martinez and running back Rex Burkhead from busting out a long play. Up to this point, the Badgers are one of the three FBS teams to not allow one run of 20+ yards.

Prediction: Nebraska 48 Wisconsin 17

Not sure if you noticed, but I took last year’s result and just flipped the names. I just haven’t seen enough from the Badgers’ lackluster offense to believe they can go into Nebraska and compete. Heck, this team barely put up seven points when they went to Oregon State, a venue which crumbles in comparison to Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium. UW’s defense is good enough to compete early, but an inexperienced Stave and under-performing offensive line will put the Badgers in bad spots. Even though Nebraska went and lost at UCLA, it wasn’t because of an inept offense, they will surely put up points this weekend. The Huskers are seeking revenge and they will get it.

TV Coverage: ABC at 7:12 PM CT, Brad Nessler (play-by-play) and Todd Blackledge (Analyst) with Holly Rowe on the sideline.

Betting Lines: Nebraska favored by 12.5 points and over/under set at 50.5 points.

2012 Record straight up: 3-1

2012 Record against the spread: 1-2

2012 Record in over/under: 2-1

*No betting line for Badgers match-up with Northern Iowa

What are your predictions for the 2012 conference season, who wins the opener in Lincoln? Let me know by commenting below!

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at grays@uwalumni.com.

Pictures:

Joel  Stave and Team from 2011 (Wisc.edu)

WI and NEB Uniforms (bleacherreport.com)

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Scottie Pippen: LeBron still hasn’t surpassed Jordan, Kobe

Report: Sherman holds resentment toward Wilson, Carroll

Osweiler: Film from last two years proves I should be starter

Daughter of Bucks owner burns Bill Simmons on Twitter

Tiger Woods tells golf world to try and kick this football he’s holding

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tyronn Lue: Gameplanning to defend Celtics harder than Warriors

How the Senators can upset the Penguins in Game 7

Report: Paxton Lynch cutting out early while other QBs stay late

Michael Jordan unique 1984 Converse shoes could fetch up to $100K at auction

Joe Girardi has interesting reason why no medical scans for Masahiro Tanaka

Ezekiel Elliott’s mom fires back after son criticized for being in car accident

Box Score 5/25: The Cavaliers look to close out the Celtics

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

Box Score 5/24: Craig Anderson saves the Senators

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker