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College Football Week 2: #13 Wisconsin At Oregon State

#13 Wisconsin
Oregon State
Northern Iowa v Wisconsin
Sean Mannion (credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Sean Mannion (credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Coaching
Winner We’ll find out how much of Wisconsin’s high-powered offense is attributable to the head coach, as Brett Bielema lost several members of his staff, including his offensive coordinator, to Pittsburgh. Despite a narrow 26-21 win over Northern Iowa, the guess here is that Beilema will be just fine.
Mike Riley enters his 12th season as head coach; his tenure has been a roller coaster. The Beavers went 3-9 lastseason and their desired tune-up last week against Nicholls State was postponed due to Hurricane Isaac.
Offense
Winner Another year, another transfer quarterback leading the Badgers’ offense. This season it is Danny O’Brien from Maryland. His most important task will be handing it to Montee Ball and watching him run towards the endzone. Ball scored 39 times last season, tying a single-season FBS record.
Expect progression from sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion, particularly a reduction in interceptions. Enough to bolster the 99th-best scoring offense from last season? Not significantly.
Defense
Winner This unit isn’t as bad as many think: Wisconsin finished in the top 15 in scoring and total defense last season. Expect improvement with six returning starters.
A small defensive line against the Badgers is asking for trouble. This unit couldn’t stop the run last season, so expect Ball to have a field day.
Special Teams
Winner The Badgers have new faces in many of their special teams spots, but Jared Abbrederis is an exciting punt returner.
Expect improve from big-legged sophomore kicker Trevor Romaine, though the Beavers’ other special teams play is questionable.

The Winner Is

Northern Iowa v Wisconsin
Winner #13 Wisconsin
4 out of 4

Oregon State may have a bit of bounce-back season, but this is a tough matchup for the Beavers, even at home. Expect Wisconsin to roll.

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