The first full month of college football is officially in the books, and well, what a month it was. As we get into the meat of the season, previously unsuspecting playoff contenders have emerged (Wisconsin and Auburn), playoff hopes have simmered (UCF and the fighting Harbaughs), and plenty more in the last thirty days.
Wisconsin Football: On-boarding October
There is so much to look forward to in college football this month. Big games that will shape the conference and playoff aspirations throughout the country. Luckily for Badger fans, Wisconsin plays its fair share of prominent games this month. After a scintillating start to the season, expectations have skyrocketed. No team has climbed higher in the rankings than Bucky. A beat down of the aforementioned Michigan Wolverines will do that for you. However, October brings an entire new set of challenges for Paul Chryst’s crew.
Final Goodbyes To Non Conference
Bucky kicks off the month with its final non conference fling of the season. Kent State comes to town the first weekend of October looking to spur an upset. The Golden Flashes haven’t had more than four wins since 2011, and are just 6-22 in the last two plus seasons. However, they have are already 2-2 this year and appear to be on the rise under second year coach Sean Lewis.
Competition Turns Up
Things get much more serious in the following weeks with Michigan State and Ohio State on the docket in two of the following three weeks. Sandwiched in between is an Illinois program that appears to be stuck in quicksand under Lovie Smith. That being said, there are two legitimate showdowns with the aforementioned Spartans and Buckeyes. The first battle with Sparty comes in Madison, with the Badgers looking to make another statement to the East Division of the Big Ten that Bucky is a playoff contender. If the Badgers win this game in all likelihood they will be undefeated heading into the showdown with Ohio State.
That is where the likely test of the season to date awaits as the Badgers travel to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes. All eyes will be set on Heisman contenders Jonathon Taylor and Buckeye quarterback Justin Fields. A good performance coupled with a victory could boost either one in the national picture for the award. However, I’m sure either player would trade in a sub-par performance for a victory in which could be the biggest game of the regular season for both teams.
When October Ends
If Wisconsin makes it through this part of the schedule standing at 7-1 they will be in fantastic shape moving forward. Assuming the loss would come in Columbus, if Bucky could win out they’d still have every goal in front of them remaining. A Big Ten championship and playoff spot are both in reach. Wisconsin has positioned itself beautifully for the stretch run. However, talk is cheap. On the field is where it’ll count and they will have to take care of business.
There will be twists and turns throughout the month. Fans will likely have very high highs, and very low lows. That’s sports. There may be incredible jubilation, or humbling disappointment. Again, because that’s sports. If nothing else, expect an exciting month of college football, with the Wisconsin Badgers right in the middle of it.