Northwestern and Wisconsin, along with Ohio State and Indiana, play in one of the biggest games of the weekend. Within the Big Ten, these could very well be “de facto” division championships.
No. 19 Northwestern hosts No. 10 Wisconsin for the inside track to the Big Ten West title and a spot in the Big Ten Conference championship. Pardon The Interruption host Mike Wilbon, a noted Northwestern alum, is picking the Wildcats to take down the Badgers.
Before fans scream bias, Wilbon made his case for Northwestern to remain undefeated through five games this weekend on Thursday’s edition of PTI.
“Northwestern won more one possession games since 2006 than anyone else in the Power Five,” Wilbon said. “They know how to play them close…I will say this, Wisconsin is No. 1 in defense in the country in points allowed, yards allowed. Northwestern is seventh with a bigger sample size. Double the sample size. Seventh nationally in points allowed, 10th in yards allowed. We got the defense to keep us in this. We are playing at home. We’ve played Wisconsin well at home. We’ve played them okay up there too. I’m wearing purple. I’m wearing purple Saturday. Northwestern’s going to win.”
Wisconsin leads the all-time series 60 to 36 but since 2014, the series is tied 3-3 with the two schools splitting the last two meetings. Wisconsin won in 2019 24-15 and Northwestern won in 2018 31-17. The 14 point margin is biggest in a game between the two schools since 2013 when Wisconsin won 35-6, coming off a 70-23 victory in 2012.
I think, they’re always, been fortunate to be here for a number of years and they’ve always been a good football team,” Chryst said. “I think they’re really well coached. They got really good players. They’re a team, I don’t care if you’re talking about their offense, our defense, our offense, their defense, special teams, they’re not going to give you anything. You got to go earn it all and it comes down to executing, and it takes 11 guys on each play to do that. I think that’s what makes them a team that’s fun to play because you have to be on.
“Moments and the games and the times that we’ve been on, we’ve had a good chance at it. When you’re not and when you don’t play good football then it makes it a lot harder.”
No. 19 Northwestern (4-0) hosts No. 10 Wisconsin (2-0) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.