Photo by Flickr user Steve Schar. Used with creative commons permission.
It’s been a few days since the Northwestern debacle, and I am no longer as furious as I was a few days ago. My head is clear of and there is no more Milwaukee’s Best to skew my perception of things. Badgers dropped to an overall record of 8-3 and to 5-2 in Big Ten play. But now it’s Axe Week. The greatest week of the year for Badger fans. Wisconsin is on the road as they face the Gophers of Minnesota this weekend. Wisconsin is only favored by 2.5 so it’s a tight game, but I believe Wisconsin can pull put the victory and bring home Paul Bunyan’s Axe again. Let’s go in depth for this week’s pregame coverage.
The last time Minnesota took home the highly coveted axe, I was in the fifth grade. To put it in perspective, I am now a senior in college. Minnesota last took home this prize on Nov. 6, 2004. I’ll admit it. Wisconsin has a decent record, but their wins come from teams who not on the same level. Their losses come against ranked opponents (Alabama, Iowa, Northwestern) so it makes you think if Wisconsin is as truly good as their record states they are? They have not dominated opponents with the exceptions of Rutgers and Hawaii, so what makes Wisconsin a winning team? The answer to that is defense. The defense has been there all season to keep Wisconsin on the winning path. Their losses to Iowa and Northwestern were both by touchdown or less. They were not blown out by Alabama this year either. Wisconsin’s rushing game has suffered this season with injury to Corey Clement earlier in the season that made him miss a few weeks to recover. Stave has been average as always with throwing. The defense is always there to bail out the Badgers. With strong defense this weekend, the Badgers can pull off the victory to prevent Minnesota from taking home the Axe. A Minnesota loss will also end their season as they will not be bowl eligible for not reaching the six-win mark to make it.
Minnesota is looking to win, but QB Mitch Leidner is reported to have a cut on his throwing hand which could cause a disturbance on passing. Leidner is reported to say he will be ready for Wisconsin on Saturday, but the final decision is up to the coaches. If he is available, an injured Minnesota QB might not be enough to overcome a powerful Badgers’ defense. Let’s hope the Badgers keep the streak alive as they face the Gophers on Saturday 2:30 p.m.