Game Prediction: No. 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers

Here's how our BuckeyesNow staff sees this one shaking out at Soldier Field in Chicago.
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Notre Dame is unbeaten this season, but their wins have hardly been impressive. Wisconsin seems to be a team on the rise after a disappointing opener against a very good Penn State team.

Here's how our BuckeyesNow staff sees this one shaking out at Soldier Field in Chicago.

NOTRE DAME vs. WISCONSINSaturday, 12 p.m.
Spread: Wisconsin (-6.5)
O/U Total: 45

Brendan Gulick: Notre Dame 20, Wisconsin 27

Jack Coan against his former Badgers is a fun storyline for a non-conference game between two teams that feel like long shots, but still have lofty goals for a CFP berth this year. Both are unlikely to make the playoff, but its certainly still possible and a win in this game would be toward the top of the resume.

I'm not sold on Notre Dame's offensive line this year and their defense under Marcus Freeman has limped out of the gates. Wisconsin has some good weapons, but they're not an offensive juggernaut. I think this game is reasonably close, but I like Wisconsin to hand Brian Kelly his first loss of 2021.

Andrew Lind: Notre Dame 21, Wisconsin 24

While this might be the only game this weekend with College Football Playoff implications, I’m not expecting either team to do much offensively, particularly when the Fighting Irish have the ball, as they’re averaging just 2.9 yards per carry this season.

Throw in the fact that the Badgers also have the benefit of going up against former quarterback Jack Coan, and I think they’ll be able to force a big interception late in the game that directly leads to a Graham Mertz touchdown pass for the win.

Eddie Marotta: Notre Dame 24, Wisconsin 28

One of the most interesting games of the weekend will take place in Chicago this weekend when the (somehow) undefeated Fighting Irish square off with the Badgers. After unimpressive performances by both teams to start the season position them lower in the top-25 than this matchup could have been, both are starving for a signature victory to prove they belong in the playoff conversation. 

The Big Ten may be more wide-open this year compared to previous seasons and I think Wisconsin jumps on the opportunity to put their opening-day loss to Penn State in the past. But frankly, Wisconsin winning this game is more about Notre Dame's struggles this season (close calls against Florida State and Toledo do not look great three weeks into the year) than it is a show of strength for the Badgers. Wisconsin wins in a close, ugly, entertaining game. 

Caleb Spinner: Notre Dame 31, Wisconsin 28

This matchup between the Irish and the Badgers is probably the best game to watch this week. Notre Dame is still in need of a statement win in my opinion, and this game against Wisconsin is an opportunity for just that. The Badgers meanwhile fell to Penn State in a close game on opening weekend, but appear to have turned things around after a 34-7 win against Eastern Michigan. This is a tough one to predict and really could go either way, but I’ll call this one 31-28 in favor of Notre Dame, simply because the Irish going into their game against Cincinnati undefeated is a great headline.

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