Bruised Badgers await No. 4 Michigan
What's a Badger to do?
Barry Alvarez can't coach from the sideline because he needs knee replacement surgery. Heisman Trophy hopeful Ron Dayne is nursing a sprained ankle. Now the big question is whether Wisconsin can stay with No. 4 Michigan after losing to lowly Cincinnati.
Don't worry, wide receiver Nick Davis says, No. 20 Wisconsin will be ready to open Big Ten play against the Wolverines at Camp Randall Stadium.
Alvarez is to have surgery Oct. 5 and probably will coach from the press box Saturday.
"We're just going to support him and get through it," Davis said.
And Dayne, who had 231 yards in last week's 17-12 loss to the Bearcats, says his ankle is fine.
"It's feeling good," Dayne said. "I'm able to run."
But how is Wisconsin (2-1) to support Dayne's bruising runs? Against the Bearcats, Scott Kavanagh threw for 85 yards. That won't do against the Wolverines (3-0).
Last year, Wisconsin traveled to Ann Arbor with a 9-0 record and No. 8 ranking. The 15th-ranked Wolverines won, 27-10, and ran for 257 yards against the nation's best rushing defense. Dayne was held to 58 yards.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr doesn't see much change in the Badgers, but he certainly expects a closer game.
"Essentially, Wisconsin has the same team it had a year ago, with the exception of the quarterback," Carr said, referring to Kavanagh replacing Mike Samuel. "They have a strong, powerful offensive team. They have a strong defense. They have a great punter. They want to play ball control, field-position football. They have the kind of people that allow them to do that."
Michigan needs to get its offense untracked, too. Jeff Del Verne kicked three field goals in an 18-13 win over Syracuse.
Carr says he'll continue alternating quarterbacks, with Tom Brady starting and Drew Henson playing the second quarter. He also wants more touchdowns.
"We missed out on some opportunities," Carr said. "Our first drive, we have the ball for 10 plays, then we drop a pass. Then we get a field goal blocked.
"In these big games, the line between winning and losing is very small. You have to take advantage.
No. 1 Florida State (minus 20) at North Carolina
Seminoles hit the road for the first time. ... FLORIDA STATE, 35-10.
Indiana (plus 26) at No. 2 Penn State
Good chance for Lions to find a running game. ... PENN STATE, 42-10.
No. 3 Florida (minus 20) at Kentucky
Gators secondary better be in shape. ... FLORIDA, 45-21.
No. 4 Michigan (minus 3) at No. 20 Wisconsin
Are the Badgers for real after shocking loss at Cincinnati? ... MICHIGAN, 24-20.
Southern Mississippi (plus 10 1/2 ) at No. 5 Texas A&M
Second straight toughie for Golden Eagles. ... TEXAS A&M, 31-24.
No. 6 Nebraska (minus 17) at Missouri
Huskers return to the scene of '97 miracle catch. ... MISSOURI, 24-21.
Memphis (plus 30 1/2 ) at No. 7 Tennessee
Vols take out frustrations on Tigers. ... TENNESSEE, 41-13.
Clemson (plus 12 1/2 ) at No. 8 Virginia Tech (Thursday)
Tigers upset Cavs, now look to take out Hokies. ... VIRGINIA TECH, 28-21.
No. 9 Miami (minus 11) at East Carolina (at Raleigh, N.C.)
Pirates are 3-0; 'Canes looking to rebound from tough loss to Penn State. ... EAST CAROLINA, 27-24.
Central Florida (plus 27 1/2 ) at No. 11 Georgia
Golden Knights will be happy when this one's over. ... GEORGIA, 45-14.
Cincinnati (plus 32) at No. 12 Ohio State
First the Badgers, now the Buckeyes? Nah. ... OHIO STATE, 52-10.
Northwestern (plus 28) at No. 13 Purdue
Don't get caught looking ahead to Michigan fellas. ... PURDUE 49-13.
No. 14 Arkansas (minus 3) at Alabama
Hogs' QB is hurting; Tide's whole program is hurting. ... ALABAMA, 27-26.
No. 15 Kansas State (minus 15 1/2 ) at Iowa State
Cyclones RB Darren Davis needs a big day. ... KANSAS STATE, 31-21.
No. 16 Southern California (even) at Oregon
Ducks looking for two in a row at home over Trojans. ... USC, 35-30.
Virginia (plus 6 1/2 ) at No. 17 BYU
Cavs go west of Mississippi for just 11th time in 1,074 games. ... BYU, 27-24.
No. 18 UCLA (minus 1) at Stanford
Bruins needed two fourth-quarter TDs to win last year. ... STANFORD, 35-28.
Illinois (plus 6 1/2 ) at No. 19 Michigan State
Believe it or not, this is a Big Ten battle of unbeatens. ... MICHIGAN STATE, 27-17.
Temple (plus 28) at No. 21 Marshall
Thundering Herd plan to stay in Top 25 awhile. ... MARSHALL, 42-10. No. 22 Texas (minus 16) at Baylor
Longhorns, beware of wounded Bears. ... TEXAS, 34-30.
South Carolina (plus 13) at No. 23 Mississippi State
Gamecocks looking at 14th loss in a row; Bulldogs looking for 4-0. ... MISSISSIPPI STATE, 31-13.
Wyoming (plus 9 1/2 ) at No. 24 Air Force
Falcons have 11-game winning streak. ... AIR FORCE 27-17.
No. 25 North Carolina State (minus 6 1/2 ) at Wake Forest
Demon Deacons set spring trap on napping Wolfpack. ... WAKE FOREST, 21-17.
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Last week: 13-6 (straight up); 7-11-1 (vs. points)
Season: 49-12 (straight up); 30-26-1 (vs. points)