(#1) Redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Threet will complete 70 percent of his passes and throw for at least 200 yards Saturday. Lost amid six turnovers, Threet was excellent in South Bend. His rapid development will continue against a Wisconsin secondary that has quietly struggled this year.
(#2) Sam McGuffie will look human. Expectations for the freshman phenom running back will return to reality after he has fewer than 80 rushing and receiving yards combined.
(#3) Michigan will win 14-9. Last year, the Wolverines entered Big Ten play 1-2 and hosted a top-10 team. Michigan beat a solid, but slightly overrated Penn State team. Substitute the Badgers for the Nittany Lions, and you have an almost exact replay this year.
(#4) Junior wide receiver Greg Mathews will double the amount of receiving yards he has for the season. That means he’ll rack up at least 100 yards, which is all he has been able to muster in two games while hampered by an ankle injury. With Threet’s increasing offensive production and Mathews’ continued recovery, the two will explode against the Badgers.
(#5) Nick Sheridan sees game time. It’s obvious Threet is the starter, and if he hadn’t cramped up late against Notre Dame, Sheridan wouldn’t have played. But it’s still early enough in the season that if Threet falters — or if Michigan is comfortably ahead or far behind by the end of the game — Rodriguez will give Sheridan another chance. Expect one of those three to happen.
(#6) Wisconsin will win 20-17. The Wolverines will continue the same pattern they have in both home games this year: start strong and fade in the middle. After showcasing its ever-improving offense, a lackluster third quarter will be Michigan’s downfall.
(#7) Senior nose tackle Terrance Taylor will lead Michigan in tackles. The Badgers like the power-running game, and Taylor should have a field day. Last year, the nose tackle racked up a career-high nine tackles against Wisconsin.
(#8) Sophomore cornerback Donovan Warren will not be the only Wolverine to return a punt. He has been sure-handed, but he has also been a bit reluctant to call for a fair catch. Expect freshman Martavious Odoms to step back there, too.
(#9) Wisconsin will win 24-20. The Wolverines have won 22 straight Big Ten home openers. But Wisconsin quarterback Allan Evridge will find his tight end, Travis Beckum, and exploit Michigan’s weakness at linebacker. Michigan should continue its offensive improvement, but inexperience will rear its head once again.
(#10) Michigan will win the turnover battle. The Wolverines learned two weeks ago just how important the turnover differential is. Expect the front seven to cause and recover fumbles. They stripped a couple balls from Notre Dame, but couldn’t get a handle on them to take possession.
(#11) Senior cornerback Morgan Trent will play like the shutdown corner everyone expects him to be. Trent had two interceptions in South Bend, but he was also victimized for a touchdown and was called for pass interference in the end zone. Trent has the talent and experience to be one of the best cornerbacks in the Big Ten, and he’ll prove it against the Badgers. They won’t throw at him often, but when they do, he’ll make them pay.
(#12) Wisconsin will win 21-17. There’s no question Michigan has improved each week this season. Against Wisconsin, Michigan will prove it’s ready to compete in the conference. But the Badgers have more experience in these close Big Ten games. That will be the difference.