10.Sep.2011 Oregon State @ Wisconsin (Game Thread)
Considering the opponent, time zone, and QB upheaval, like you guys I'm not expecting a good day. Earlier in the week I tried to make a case for how the Beavers could win this game. Speed on the edge and kick returns are the two advantages I see. However, after rethinking matters, I just don't have faith the Beaver's coaches will exploit that. They'll remain true to their rigid beliefs (e.g. pounding the ball up the middle, face guarding WRs, etc) and fail to make pre-game or in-game adjustments. Three times is a trend, so this is the trend several times over.
I just don't see the Beavs slowing Wisconsin's run game; therefore, if the Beavs are to win the game, this is what needs to happen:
- Great kick and punt returns to shorten the field
- Take the crowd out of it with early success
- A +2 turnover ratio with good returns into Wisconsin territory
- Exploit the edge w/speed
- Convert 3rd downs
- Stop Wisconsin in 3rd down passing situations (i.e. force at least 4 Wisky punts)
- Fake punt for a 1st down or TD
If the coaches go to Wisconsin thinking they can play a standard, balanced game they'll leave with yet another early season, out of conference, blow out loss. This game will require both creativity and passion to win. Those are two of the staff's biggest weaknesses. Wisconsin has a better coaching staff, game plan, QB, RB, and offensive line. Wisconsin's LBs appear slow, and their secondary is questionable, but I have no faith that OSU will exploit those vulnerabilities. I expect to see Ward left, Ward up the middle, followed by a predictable pass short of the first down marker.
Until the Beavers win a big road game I refuse to pick them. The question is how bad the loss will be. I think the Beavers have a much better defense than UNLV, so that combined with Wisconsin's penchant to run makes me think this will be a short game. Translation: Wisconsin won't have time to run it up too bad. I think the Delta will be fairly large (25 points), but Wisconsin won't reach that 50+ stratosphere that many are predicting.