Commentary

Badgers, Cardinal face upset bids

Identifying potential upsets and picking winners for the biggest games of Week 8

Updated: October 21, 2011, 11:39 AM ET
By Will Harris | ESPN Insider
Andrew Luck/Russell WilsonGetty ImagesAndrew Luck faces the Huskies at home, while Russell Wilson heads to East Lansing.

Every week during the season, Will Harris will conspire with the computers (using TeamRankings' game predictor) and the wiseguys to evaluate the upset possibilities in college football's most compelling games -- and give his picks for who'll come out on top.

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Illinois Fighting Illini were the only ranked teams to lose as favorites in Week 7, while the Michigan Wolverines, Baylor Bears, Texas Longhorns and Arizona State Sun Devils fell as ranked underdogs to other ranked teams.

Upset Picks forecast Sparty's beatdown of Michigan but missed on the Illini, posting a 3-5 week to move to 31-23 against the number on the year. This week we're fading the Michigan State Spartans, along with the Stanford Cardinal, USC Trojans and Miami Hurricanes.

Wisconsin Badgers at Michigan State Spartans

Wisconsin is favored by 7 points
TeamRankings win odds for Michigan State: 20 percent

It's not hard to make a case for Michigan State. The Spartans rank behind only the Alabama Crimson Tide in total defense and demonstrated their physicality in a brutish beating of Michigan last week. This team has plenty of offensive weapons as well, and it appears to be peaking just in time for a visit from the Badgers. Wisconsin hasn't won in East Lansing since 2002 and is a touchdown favorite, the largest price laid to a home-standing Michigan State team in the Mark Dantonio era.

The Badgers, though, are a far different team than the one that fell in Spartan Stadium last year. This year's squad, led by Russell Wilson, is a seasoned, confident group that is more equipped to pass midseason road tests than last year's Rose Bowl outfit. Wisconsin is a true juggernaut, the first team since 1950 to win each of its first six games by at least 30 points. Wilson sports a ridiculous 209 passer rating, and while the defense isn't an elite unit, it's a solid group that has outstanding leadership in the linebacking duo of Chris Borland and Mike Taylor.