A look at the third quarter of what could be a great season for Wisconsin football. Illinois stands out among the teams on this part of the calendar.
It’s the hope of every college football fan that the COVID-19 crisis will be resolved in time for the season to start on schedule. For football to be the one sport that isn’t affected by the tragic pandemic would provide some much-needed catharsis.
If everything does go according to plan and the games are played on schedule, the Wisconsin Badgers could find themselves 6-0 (but I have them at 5-1) heading into the week of Oct. 24. The added advantage of a bye week will make their road date with the Maryland Terrapins a relatively non-threatening one.
The Terrapins’ best days occurred during the Eisenhower administration, and since they joined the Big Ten in 2014, they have not been anywhere close to a threat to their new opponents. Head coach Mike Locksley hopes he can turn the tide in 2020, but a dismal 2019 does not set them up for a turnaround.
Following the Maryland contest, the Badgers will be back at Camp Randall to face Illinois. This matchup will prompt very, very bitter memories as Illinois stonewalled Wisconsin’s chance for a perfect season. The Badgers are circling this game with the knowledge that most of Illinois’ stars are coming back from that 2019 season.
Halloween will find the Badgers at Wrigley Field, to take on a Northwestern program that faced the cold realization that elite academics and elite athletics do not always mix. Pat Fitzgerald is used to these up and downs, and there’s really no telling what Wildcats team will be on the field in 2020.
How does Wisconsin fare in this part of the schedule?