By TOM LEA
WEST LAFAYETTE — Before Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1) and Purdue (3-2, 0-1) square off in a critical Big Ten Leaders clash, here are a few notes.
-Wisconsin has not lost to Purdue in its last six tries, dating back to 2004. UW hasn't lost in West Lafayette since 1997 and own a four-game winning streak over the Boilers at Ross-Ade Stadium.
-Should the Badgers claim victory, head coach Bret Bielema would move into a tie with College Football Hall of Famer Phil King (1896-1902, 1905) as the second winningest coach in Wisconsin history. Bielema would have 65 career wins as head coach.
-Speaking of Bret Bielema, UW has never lost to Purdue under his tutelage. UW owns a 4-0 record against the Boilermakers during Bielema's tenure, including a 2-0 record in West Lafayette.
-During its six-game winning streak against the Boilers, Wisconsin has averaged 34.7 points per game and has won each game by an average of 23 points per game.
-Purdue has averaged just 8.3 points per game during its last four meetings with Wisconsin.
You can get a sense of how the team is going to come out and play by the way they talk throughout the week. Not necessarily with what their message is or what they're saying specifically, but more so based on the tenor and tone of their voice.
A week ago I picked the Badgers to win, but to do so without covering the 14-point spread. I did that because it seemed like a rather 'blah' week leading into the game.
That tone was much different this week. The players and coaches I talked to seemed entirely locked in and focused. They wouldn't publicly hype this game up as being more than it is, but its clear they know the importance of today's game in terms of the Big Ten Leaders race.
Knowing that, I expect the Badgers to continue their improvement we've all seen over the past few weeks. And I expect UW to win. I'm going to take the Badgers, 26-21.
Lea's record against the spread: 2-3
Lea's record straight up: 5-1
Return to: Wisconsin Badgers Blog