Skip to main content

Washington State vs. Wisconsin Prediction: Badgers Welcome the Cougars to Camp Randall Stadium

Pac-12 vs. Big Ten matchup also pits Wisconsin's patented ground game against Wazzu's new-look air attack.

Week 2 of the college football schedule appears a bit light on mega matchups, but any time the Big Ten goes head-to-head with the Pac-12 is worth paying attention to. This weekend sees Washington State travel to Wisconsin to take on the Badgers in the first game of a home-and-home scheduling agreement. The two teams appear to be coming into the matchup on different playing fields, with Wisconsin carrying a top-20 ranking while the Cougars had to claw their way to a victory against an FCS opponent in Week 1.

Related: College Football Predictions for Every Game in Week 2

Here is a quick look at this Big Ten vs. Pac-12 showdown going down in Camp Randall Stadium this weekend.

Washington State at No. 19 Wisconsin

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept, 10 at 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Wisconsin -17.5
Tickets: As low as $41 on SITickets.com*

When Washington State Has the Ball

Cameron Ward had himself a decent 2022 debut as Washington State's starting quarterback last week with 215 passing yards and three touchdowns without an interception, but the completion percentage (26-for-41, 63.4 percent) has some room to improve. This will be especially difficult against a Wisconsin team that is solid on defense and coming off a shutout in its season opener. Ward did put up 4,648 passing yards and 47 touchdowns last season at FCS Incarnate Word (UIW), so expect plenty of passing to test the Badgers' secondary.

When Wisconsin Has the Ball

There is not much secret to the success of Wisconsin football. The offensive philosophy lives with running the football and hoping the passing game doesn't mess things up. And when you have one of the top running backs in the Big Ten with Braelon Allen, it is easy to see why Wisconsin loves running the ball. Allen had 148 rushing yards and two touchdowns in Wisconsin's season-opening rout of Illinois State last weekend. Quarterback Graham Mertz was effective and efficient as well, although Illinois State wasn't a major threat to the Badgers. Washington State should be a bit more of a challenge.

Final Analysis

While Wisconsin was having a stress-free opener last week, Washington State was struggling in a battle with FCS Idaho in Week 1. That doesn't seem to trend well going into Week 2 as the Cougars will have to solve the Wisconsin defense on the road in Madison. There is a reason why Wisconsin is a three-score favorite this week. Expect Wisconsin to dominate the game on the ground and keep the Cougars' air attack in check for much of the afternoon.

Prediction: Wisconsin 34, Washington State 17

Podcast: Complete Week 2 Preview, Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB, on Instagram, on TikTok, and Like him on Facebook.

*Price as of publication.