Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Wisconsin Badgers – College Football (Saturday, September 25, 2021)
The game to watch in Week 4 will be Notre Dame and Wisconsin. This non-conference matchup will be a hard-nosed battle that gets won in a phone booth. It will bring back the type of football that everybody enjoyed before the BCS era began.
Wisconsin is looking for their first national championship since 1942, and Notre Dame has seen their trophy case remain empty since 1988. A loss by either team likely puts their dreams on hold for another year.
The Badgers suffered a grueling season-opening home loss to Penn State. Playing in the Big Ten West will allow them to remain a favorite alongside Iowa. They have vital home games coming up against the Nittany Lions and Michigan as well.
Notre Dame has a challenging slate this season, and they have found ways to manage as they enter the weekend at 3-0. How much longer can the Irish play with fire and escape with a victory?
Soldier Field will host these two tremendous Midwest programs that are in search of a monumental non-conference victory. Penn State earned one last week over Auburn in the non-conference slate. Now, the Golden Domers will look to accomplish the same when they take on the Badgers.
Let’s further discuss this matchup by looking at the latest odds via Sportsbetting.ag.
Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin Odds
The top college football betting sites have the Badgers coming in as a near-touchdown favorite here.
In the past ten games in which Notre Dame was an underdog of seven points or less, they have covered in six of them. The Irish only went 3-7 straight up and were blown out in three of them.
Wisconsin has gone 5-5 against the spread as favorites of a touchdown or less.
Notre Dame has won four of the past five meetings against the Big Ten and seven of the past nine against Wisconsin. Their last meeting was when Knute Rockne coached in 1964.
The lone meeting played in Chicago between these two was in 1929!
Why Notre Dame Wins
The Irish will hopefully put together their best game of the season. Anything less will result in a loss.
The ability to win this game at the line of scrimmage is crucial. Kyren Williams will need to make some front seven members of Wisconsin miss to keep the chains moving. Staying ahead of the chains for quarterback Jack Coan could mean the world in this one.
Coan is a former Badger quarterback and would love nothing more than to play his best game in this pivotal non-conference clash.
He’s already been off to a terrific start. Here are his 2021 stats thus far.
- 828 passing yards
- 8 TDs
- 2 INT
- 157.1 passer rating
Tight end Michael Mayer has been the security blanket for Coan, and the tandem has been nearly unstoppable. Mayer is the next NFL tight end playing in South Bend.
Mayer has the speed and size to turn a small gain into a home run. Hidden yardage will need to be won by the Irish as well. They haven’t been the most explosive offense in the country, but they match up well with the Badgers.
Taking care of the ball and avoiding being a one-dimensional offensive squad are the keys to victory. The defense will hold its own, but the offense needs to avoid those mental and physical errors. If they execute and stick to the basics, the Irish have the goods to notch another victory over a Big Ten program.
The reality is Notre Dame has a ton to play for here. Of these two teams, they actually still have College Football Playoff odds worth mentioning. Take a look in the latest CFP odds update.
Why Wisconsin Wins
The Badgers threw a pick-six against Eastern Michigan two weeks ago, or else they would have had a 41-0 shutout at Madison. The defense has played well enough to be 2-0, and the hope is the Badgers received the needed rest on their bye week to gear up for a grueling two-week stretch.
Wisconsin hosts Michigan in a huge conference showdown next week, but they must execute their game plan against Notre Dame.
Similar to the Irish, the Badgers need to stay ahead of the sticks on early downs.
Avoiding third down is vital, but Graham Mertz should be the better passer in the matchup. Mertz has more reliable weapons with a better offensive line and rushing attack. Kendric Pryor, Danny Davis, and Jake Ferguson are a trio that can dissect the Irish secondary.
Mertz has had issues over the years with taking care of the ball. As long as he can avoid the turnover bug, the weapons are good enough to pull off the victory at Soldier Field.
Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin Prediction
The defenses will be ready to run through a wall for this early noon eastern kick. The team that can strike first will be able to ease in their offensive play calling.
Wisconsin put the ball on the carpet and missed an early kick against Penn State. Mertz would then throw a few crucial picks in the fourth quarter, and points available were left off the board.
The Irish will likely play behind the sticks against a stout front seven of Wisconsin. Their secondary will avoid getting beat deep, and they will keep everything in front of them.
This non-conference tilt should be competitive, but Wisconsin is too physical on both sides of the ball to let this get away from them.
Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin Pick
Picking the winner here could be a challenge. This game ranks high on the list for top non-conference games on the Irish schedule.
Many were excited for USC and North Carolina, but they already have disappointing losses on their resume. The Badgers have a loss, as well, but they will be out for blood in this one.
Paul Chryst and Jim Leonhard are two of the better coaches in America. They will execute to near perfection and avoid critical mistakes that we saw in their opener against Penn State.
The spread has jumped in favor of Wisconsin in the past few weeks. The Badgers are the pick to cover the point spread in what could be one of the better non-conference thrillers we watch all season.