The Wisconsin Badgers will be entering the 2013 season without two familiar faces. Head coach Bret Bielema and running back Montee Ball will be absent from the team for the first time in recent memory. Putting together a team of top Big Ten talent won’t be easy, but Gary Andersen can surely do it.
On the other side of the field, the Massachusetts Minutemen were one of the worst teams in all of college football in 2012. Finishing with a pitiful 1-11 record last season, UMass was a bit of a cupcake for most teams last year as they finished with their worst record in the past decade.
Wisconsin’s offense was based around the run game last season with Ball and James White, but now White needs to be the main guy. The senior running back finished with 806 yards on the ground last season with 12 touchdowns. The quarterback situation will be a bit sticky all season long, but Joel Stave will eventually prove he’s the top choice.
Massachusetts had one of the worst offenses, by far, in college football last season. Averaging just 277 yards and a measly 12.7 points per game last season, this offense had a really tough time putting points on the board. Mike Wegzyn is the returning starting quarterback and is surely not one of the best. He finished with six touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season.
The UMass defense wasn’t much better. They allowed over 40 points per game and also 459 yards per game. They are returning seven starters on that side of the ball, but losing the top-two tacklers. Wisconsin had a top-15 defense last season and could be taking a bit of a step back in 2013 with just five returning starters. It looks like this game will come down to Wisconsin stopping the poor UMass offense.
Massachusetts is traveling to Wisconsin to take on the Badgers at 12 p.m. EST on Saturday, Aug. 31. The game will be aired on the Big Ten Network.
PREDICTION: Massachusetts 0, Wisconsin 35