This game is always fun. Gopher fans can cling to the fact that we have actually won the ax in recent years (2001 and 2003) and 2005 we had it were it not for a punting gaffe. Here is how it works...
1999 - Wisconsin by 3
2000 - Wisconsin BIG
2001 - Minnesota by 11
2002 - Wisconsin BIG
2003 - Minnesota by 3
2004 - Wisconsin BIG
2005 - Wisconsin by 4 (a Glen Mason special)
2006 - Wisconsin BIG
2007 - ?
Apparently odd years are kind to Minnesota, or at least home games. The badgers are coming off a huge win over Michigan and have a chance to finish 4th in conference. They also are inline for a Jan. 1 Bowl (maybe Capital One Bowl vs. Tennessee). So they have reason to play this game.
The Gophers actually played well for 3 quarters last week on the road in Iowa City. Unfortunately I don't know if that will translate into anything today.
For Minnesota to win?
- Wisconsin needs a big let down
- PJ Hill can't play, leaving the Badgers with their 3rd string RB only as the backup can't leave Madison for legal reasons.
- Minnesota has to play inspired on defense and hold the badgers to under 400 yards of offense
- Minnesota offense can't have turnovers
- Minnesota offense needs first downs - 3 and outs are poison to our defense
- A competitive game
- A competent offense
- Consistent improvement - I hope the Iowa game wasn't a fluke. I'll be able to sleep at night if I know that this team actually got getter in the last month of the season.