By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) Jim Delaney hit a home run with Nebraska’s first ever game in the Big Ten.
The Cornhuskers head to Madison and face the defending conference champs in the biggest game of the week — not just in the Big Ten, but nationally.
Whether or not Nebraska can win is a different question.
Neither team played a particularly tough non-conference schedule. The Cornhuskers played a slightly tougher one and showed a bunch of vulnerabilities despite going 4-0. The Badgers, meanwhile, steamrolled through four weak opponents and did everything right.
Ultimately, this game is going to be won by one of the quarterbacks.
Russell Wilson has been impressive while working at ease. He’s barely been touched. Now it’s time to see how he responds against a much tougher opponent. At the same time, Wisconsin has barely reached page 2 of the playbook. Offensive coordinator Paul Chryst should show new ways to showcase his Heisman trophy candidate. I expect Wilson to have a huge night.
On the other side, Taylor Martinez will cause problems for Wisconsin’s defense. Nebraska’s option offense is tough to defend and the Badgers typically struggle to find the football against these kinds of teams. That said, Martinez is one-dimensional which will allow the Badgers to load the box. There are a thousand ways to analyze this game, but ultimately Wisconsin has a better quarterback, better running backs and a better offensive line.
My pick: Wisconsin 34, Nebraska 20.
I’ll be covering the game so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@AdamHogeCBS) for updates and analysis from Camp Randall Stadium.
The rest of my Week 5 picks:
Home team in CAPS
Michigan State 21, OHIO STATE 17
I’m still waiting for Michigan State’s offense to be what it is supposed to be and I expect the offensive line to get better throughout the year, which will get it rolling. Meanwhile, the Spartans defense is No. 1 in the Big Ten. Overall, I think Michigan State has more talent.
Notre Dame 27, PURDUE 13
There’s really no excuse for Notre Dame not to win this game big, which means they probably won’t. But I’m going to give the prediction of what I expect from the Irish this weekend. Purdue’s offense isn’t very good. Notre Dame is simply a much better team.
ILLINOIS 24, Northwestern 20
Dan Persa is back, but Kain Colter played pretty well in his absence so how big of a boost does that really give the ‘Cats in his first game back? Illinois got their stinker out of the way last week in a trap game, but still got the win. I expect them to control this game and win a game that is more comfortable than the score indicates.
MICHIGAN 31, Minnesota 20
Losses to New Mexico State and North Dakota State have left the Gophers with zero confidence. Good thing Wyoming State and Alaska State weren’t on the schedule this year. Michigan wins easily.
Penn State 27, Indiana 10
Still don’t believe in Penn State’s offense but Silas Redd will be able to control the game on the ground and score enough points to win comfortably. Indiana will be lucky to score a touchdown.
Do you agree with Adam? Post your comments below.
Adam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.