There’s one game left on the regular-season schedule for Minnesota and it should be a tough battle – one that will result in the winner carrying around Paul Bunyan’s Axe.
The Gophers have won two of the last four matchups against Wisconsin and look to win back-to-back games in the series for the first time since 1993-94.
It’s a meeting of two teams which have underperformed to preseason expectations. But now there’s the chance to head into a bowl game on a positive note.
Minnesota will rely on a familiar formula against the Badgers: running back Mohamed Ibrahim and a staunch defense.
Will it be enough for the Gophers to retain the Axe?
Here’s this week’s predictions from around the web:
The Associated Press' Ralph D. Russo: Wisconsin 21, Minnesota 16.
Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 21, Minnesota 17. “Wisconsin is a different team in Camp Randall. It blew out Northwestern in Evanston, but it struggled in the win last week over Nebraska to get bowl eligible. It gagged at Michigan State, couldn’t stop screwing up against Iowa, and got rolled by Ohio State. The O hasn’t always been great no matter where it plays, and Minnesota’s defense will keep this close, but the Badger run D will be a wee bit better as it takes back the Paul Bunyan Axe.”
Scott Whittum of Athlon Sports: Wisconsin 17, Minnesota 13. “This is a tricky game because if Morgan were to return from injury, it would give Minnesota more balance on offense. If he doesn't play and Kaliakmanis starts, it'll be a quickly played, low-scoring affair since both teams will run the ball a ton. If Wisconsin permanently hires Leonhard before the game on Saturday morning, the Badgers should start hot. After the emotion of that wears off, the game will settle in and become a defensive slugfest, with the Badgers winning by one score and elevating the quality of their bowl game.”
Randy Johnson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: Minnesota 24, Wisconsin 14.
Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press: Minnesota 21, Wisconsin 20.
Trent Knoophttps://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/lists/predicting-every-big-ten-college-football-score-in-week-1/ of Wolverines Wire: Wisconsin 17, Minnesota 14. “Once upon a time a lot of people believed this game would determine who would make it out of the Big Ten West, but between injuries and poor play, neither team lived up to expectations. It doesn’t look likely that Minnesota will have Tanner Morgan back at quarterback this week. Even with Mo Ibrahim running the ball, the Gophers are too one-dimensional against a hungry Wisconsin defense wanting to win its final game for Jim Leonhard. I like the Badgers at home to finish the season.”
Riley Donald of Hawkeyes Wire: Minnesota 21, Wisconsin 16. “Minnesota is just a better team at this point in the year. They run the ball better and play better defense. Wisconsin escaped Nebraska by one point in an ugly game and lose this to fall to 6-6.”
Morgan Moriarty of Bleacher Report: Wisconsin 20, Minnesota 14.
Heath of Sportsbook Wire: Minnesota 21, Wisconsin 14.
Fairway Jay of FanDuel: Minnesota 23, Wisconsin 20.
Bill Connelly of ESPN: His S&P+ projection has it Minnesota 22, Wisconsin 17.
Two of three Athlon Sports analysts are picking Minnesota to win.
The four analysts at FootballScoop.com are split: Two predict a Wisconsin victory, two go with Minnesota.